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Top Chef: Le Bernardin - Spoilers

goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 06:15 PM

OK, i figured i'd get things started.

Leah. Must. Go.

Who just GIVES UP during a challenge? With Eric Ripert watching, no less!

She's pathetic.

I'm going to predict the Elimination Challenge, since they're tasting 6 dishes. Each of them is going to have to try to replicate one of the dishes they taste...

  1. e
    Evilbanana11 Feb 4, 2009 06:24 PM

    Was starting to like Jamie after the last episode and she has to go and act like a heard headed know it all brat during the tasting at the Bernadin.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Evilbanana11
      Phaedrus Feb 4, 2009 06:27 PM

      Jamie got the Black Bass, was that the dish that she didn't care for?

      1. re: Phaedrus
        goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 06:36 PM

        yup. karma's a bitch :)

    2. Phaedrus Feb 4, 2009 06:26 PM

      GHG, what took you so long, I was waiting for you this week!

      Agreed, Leah must go.

      You know, Hosea is so up and down.

      The elimination is great, remake Ripert's dishes after having tasted it. Fantastically wicked, especially since they were just tasting and enjoying. You would think someone whould have seen this coming. And now I am dying to go eat at Le Bernardin.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Phaedrus
        goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 06:34 PM

        sorry i made you wait, Phaedrus. i've been sick all week and it's got me moving a little slowly ;)

        i *can't believe* none of them saw this challenge coming! i thought it was so obvious.

        BTW, my dad actually just mentioned recently that he wants to take me to Le Bernardin (mom's fatally allergic to seafood). don't hate me!

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          Phaedrus Feb 4, 2009 06:36 PM

          No worries. :)

          Leah almost sent out another raw fish dish.

          1. re: Phaedrus
            goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 06:39 PM

            i'm going to predict that unfortunately, Leah's not going home. Jamie is...because we have yet to see the horrified reactions to someone's dish that they've been airing in the promos.

            ETA: and there it is :)

            TY seems to be gunning for Jamie, but Eric isn't taking the bait. hmmm...

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              l
              liveloveat34 Feb 4, 2009 06:44 PM

              i really hope hosea is going to be sent home- he works at a seafood resto! bad celery or bad fish... it looks like it's between jamie and hosea. i'm hoping it's hosea although i'd like to see leah go home...

              1. re: liveloveat34
                goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 06:50 PM

                i don't know - Leah's childish behavior in the QF may come back to bite her.

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                Phaedrus Feb 4, 2009 06:44 PM

                Carla, you go girl!!!

                Stefan wins again. Holy crap, I think Linda and all the ladies here would love to have won the challenge to follow Ripert around.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet
              ChefJune Feb 5, 2009 06:34 AM

              The food there is really awesome. a fish-lover's dream come true!

              Black Tie Scallops are my favorite, but then almost anything "scallop" is my favorite.

              I was sorry it was Jamie who got the gate and not Leah. Leah just rubs me wrong. I have always disliked whiners.

              1. re: ChefJune
                LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 06:46 AM

                I am *so* glad they didn't have any scallop dishes in the tasting! You just know Jamie would have gotten that knife.

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                JasmineG Feb 5, 2009 12:50 PM

                Jamie's interview on the Bravo website is up, and she said that they all knew that that's what the challenge was going to be when they were invited to lunch, and that some of them were taking notes under the table.

            3. LindaWhit Feb 4, 2009 06:43 PM

              I *knew* it was the replication of dishes the minute I heard they were invited to dine with Chefs Colicchio and Ripert!

              Hated, hated, HATED Jamie during the tasting - this food is boring?

              And it SERIOUSLY looks like Carla may have this one!

              9 Replies
              1. re: LindaWhit
                LindaWhit Feb 4, 2009 06:47 PM

                DAMN! Stefan wins with the easiest dish out there? That just sucks. Carla should have had that one nailed.

                1. re: LindaWhit
                  goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 06:52 PM

                  yeah, i was rooting for Carla too.

                  and did Jamie REALLY just have the gall to say at JT that the dish she made wasn't her favorite during the tasting? she needs to be slapped.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    Phaedrus Feb 4, 2009 06:56 PM

                    Uh, stand in line.

                    Jaime is really a brat on a par with Leah. After Stephanie's win last season, it doesn't look like there will be a crowning of another female Top Chef.

                    1. re: Phaedrus
                      goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 06:59 PM

                      and slapped she was. see ya!

                      i wish Jamie & Leah had *both* been sent home.

                      so, next week's judges include Jacques Pepin and Wylie Dufresne? interesting combo. doesn't look like it's going to be "happy judging!"

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        LindaWhit Feb 4, 2009 07:03 PM

                        I am completely and totally stunned. After quitting during QF, and just not getting what the sauce was - Leah wasn't sent home?

                        And both Pepin and Dufresne? That'll be an interesting JT!

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          Phaedrus Feb 4, 2009 07:07 PM

                          What a tease for the next show. Very interesting indeed. Pepin and Dufresne? Shut up!!!

                          I'm with you on Leah and Jamie, GHG.

                          This is kind of a take off on what I had put in the thread about changes we want to see in TC. I had proposed putting them through another kind of cuisine and then making them cook in that style. This is close enough for me to think that this should be a large part of future shows.

                          And I would never want to eat in Hosea's seafood restaurant, ever. What an insult to seafood restaurant chefs.

                          And it looks like the crowning victory tour of Stefan continues.

                          Hey, Ripert made like he didn't know Hosea was a seafood chef, but Hosea told him that he does seafood in the QF. WTF?

                          1. re: Phaedrus
                            ccbweb Feb 6, 2009 06:11 AM

                            As regards your last point, I think Ripert was responding to the difference between "I cook a lot of seafood" which sounds kind of like what Hosea said versus "he's the chef at a seafood restaurant" which would imply a much higher level of skill and far more experience.

                  2. re: LindaWhit
                    e
                    Elyssa Feb 6, 2009 06:39 AM

                    I agree. I really liked Jamie throughout the show, but she came across as a pompous ass saying she didn't like the food and thought it was boring. She was trying to be "too cool" in my opinion.

                    Personally I worship at the alter of Eric Ripert so I'm a little swayed one way. But I should admit that my Mom and brother ate at Le Bernardin a few years ago and said they weren't nearly as impressed as everyone else I know. I think this has more to do with their expectations and possibly an off night then anything else.

                    1. re: Elyssa
                      JasmineG Feb 8, 2009 11:56 AM

                      See, that didn't bother me, because while I like and respect Eric Ripert a lot, that's just not the kind of food that I find particularly interesting or memorable, and I totally understand why Jamie didn't find it inspiring.

                  3. goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 06:48 PM

                    HOLY schnikeys! Stefan's prize is, hands-down, the BEST one they've every given for an EC.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      LindaWhit Feb 4, 2009 06:50 PM

                      Seriously the best prize! Damn, with Carla's classic French training I really wish she could have won that one.

                      Interesting - Tom asking Leah if she "wants to give up" and she responds that she wants to be in the Final 4. No WAY she should make it to the Final 4!

                      Oh - and I was really, really hoping that we wouldn't have to listen to Toby's particular brand of criticism. He seemed to be really OK during the early part of the show; but holy cripes, his attempts at throwing a couple of them under the bus - sheesh!

                      1. re: LindaWhit
                        l
                        liveloveat34 Feb 4, 2009 06:57 PM

                        ok now i def think it's between leah and jamie. Leah should be sent home, not only did she quit on the QF, but she didn't even do a component on the dish which she was fully aware of- at least Jamie understood what the dish comprised of and what went wrong vs. just adding butter!

                        1. re: liveloveat34
                          LindaWhit Feb 4, 2009 06:59 PM

                          Holy crap. Jamie goes before Leah. Wow. I will be VERY interested to read Chef Colicchio's blog tomorrow!

                          1. re: LindaWhit
                            s
                            shallots Feb 4, 2009 07:29 PM

                            Sometimes the blog is up later tonight. There's got to be a heck of a reason why Leah outlasted Jamie (was it Jamie or the judges who said her fish was good?)

                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        t
                        toncasmo Feb 5, 2009 07:17 AM

                        ok i missed it- thought it was just a book
                        what did he get as his prize?

                        1. re: toncasmo
                          LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 07:46 AM

                          He gets to trail and work with Chef Ripert for a week at each of his 3 (?) restaurants, and I believe go with him to Aspen for the Food & Wine expo (although wouldn't he get that if he wins anyway?). No sure that was all of it though.

                          1. re: LindaWhit
                            pitu Feb 5, 2009 08:04 AM

                            I heard "Pebble Beach" Food & Wine - they must do a bunch of these events.

                            1. re: pitu
                              LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 08:50 AM

                              Couldn't remember, exactly. Should have put in an (I think?) in there. :-)

                              1. re: pitu
                                t
                                TampaAurora Feb 5, 2009 09:57 AM

                                I thought I heard "South Beach" F&W Festival. Yeah, there's a bunch.

                                1. re: TampaAurora
                                  Miss Needle Feb 5, 2009 10:33 AM

                                  I'm pretty sure it was Pebble Beach.

                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                    t
                                    TampaAurora Feb 5, 2009 10:45 AM

                                    Must have been wishful thinking on my part, not that I have the budget to go if it was in Florida. I just found Gail mentioning Pebble Beach in her blog.

                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            e
                            Elyssa Feb 6, 2009 06:41 AM

                            I agree. If I won that prize I probably would have passed out. But there is also a good possibility that I would have passed out the minute Ripert walked in the room :)

                          3. s
                            smtucker Feb 4, 2009 07:00 PM

                            Are you serious?????? THis is just so wrong on so many levels!

                            37 Replies
                            1. re: smtucker
                              l
                              liveloveat34 Feb 4, 2009 07:03 PM

                              UGHHH- seriously??? are they keeping Leah justfor the drama? she doesnt even seem like she cares and she acts like a freshman in HS. Good for Stefan- I'm def rooting for him, Carla and Fabio for top 3...hosea and leah are always in the bottom, they should get sent home together!

                              1. re: liveloveat34
                                LindaWhit Feb 4, 2009 07:05 PM

                                Well, based on previews, Fabio seems to have a MAJOR disadvantage with a bandaged hand next week!

                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                  goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 07:07 PM

                                  i get the feeling they're purposely showing that to make us *think* he's at a disadvantage...but those editors are sneaky, and i suspect he'll pull it off, and that the judges will take his injury into consideration.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                    LindaWhit Feb 4, 2009 07:09 PM

                                    Yeah, that's true. Sneaky buggers.

                                    And Colicchio's blog is up at Bravo's site. Interesting that he says that 5 of the 6 dishes were "actually well done" and Jamie was the ONLY chef considered to be sent home. The celery was inedible.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                      goodhealthgourmet Feb 4, 2009 07:14 PM

                                      you beat me to it, i was just about to post that particular quote from his blog entry.

                                      oh well. i'm *clinging* to the hope that Leah gets the axe next week. actually, i think they should do a double-elim of Leah & Hosea, and just fast-forward to a final three with Carla, Stefan & Fabio.

                                      we all know who's gonna win anyway.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                        LindaWhit Feb 4, 2009 07:18 PM

                                        Well, interestingly, I just read Gail's blog, and she ends with:

                                        "New Orleans will really show the true colors of the remaining chefs. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing."

                                        Now THAT is cryptic - perhaps you-know-who doesn't win the whole shebang! Wouldn't that be a hoot if Carla yanks the rug right out from under the cocky bastard? LOL

                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                          s
                                          shallots Feb 4, 2009 07:32 PM

                                          As a southerner living in Tennessee, I definitely picked up on Carla's accent tonight as she was so embarassed about the sardines. So embarassed that her real accent from growing up in Nashville shown through beautifully.

                                          1. re: shallots
                                            LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 04:51 AM

                                            Oh, she definitely went back to her roots with her accent - I noticed it as well! I think Chef Ripert got a kick out of her.

                                          2. re: LindaWhit
                                            g
                                            gastrotect Feb 5, 2009 06:34 AM

                                            Carla is starting to show some fight. Has she had it in her this whole time and now will come out firing? I could see that being how this goes down...

                                            I don't know what true colors means. I hope we don't start seeing petty sniping and under-the-bus throwing; it's been nice to not have that this season.

                                            1. re: gastrotect
                                              m
                                              momjamin Feb 5, 2009 07:06 AM

                                              Carla's had a hard time on team competitions, IIRC, trying to be peacemaker and getting stuck in train wrecks. She's finally getting a chance to do her thang.

                                              1. re: momjamin
                                                yamalam Feb 5, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                That was the first time I heard mention of Carla's classical french training. Is it just me? I think the editors have painted her to be a scrappy self taught caterer who is good at pastry.

                                                Do you think Ripert considered who he wanted to spend three weeks with in picking the winner? Or the QF results?

                                                1. re: yamalam
                                                  c
                                                  charmedgirl Feb 5, 2009 09:56 AM

                                                  She has mentioned it once or twice before, but it was definitely a number of episodes in. First time might have been two or three weeks ago. I remember being surprised when she said it the first time. I would agree it was not something they have highlighted about her at all.

                                                  1. re: yamalam
                                                    t
                                                    TampaAurora Feb 5, 2009 10:03 AM

                                                    I was surprised as well about the training. I thought she would have been a shoe-in considering she was able to discern the difference in sauces by tasting regardless of the labeling. C'mon! Someone who was able to recreate a dish based on purely taste, versus someone who's been making a similar dish since he was a boy.

                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 10:37 AM

                                                Thought this comment by TY was interesting in his Bravo blog (as it relates to Gail's comments re: nothing is as it seems."

                                                "If Stefan has a shortcoming it is that his food lacks imagination, but no one could doubt his credentials as a skilled technician."

                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                  Phaedrus Feb 5, 2009 12:52 PM

                                                  I kind of take that comment from TY with a grain of salt. i think he is just re-iterating the stereotype of the German precision and technical excellence which most people assumes comes with a lack of creativity. Its the old Brits versus the rest of Europe syndrome.

                                                  1. re: Phaedrus
                                                    LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 12:55 PM

                                                    But to me, Stefan's food hasn't really seemed all that exciting. It's all been just "there". I agree with others in this thread - if he had chosen a different dish and *really* knocked it out of the park, as Carla did, then I'd give him more kudos than I think he deserves.

                                                    However, I also haven't eaten at Le Bernardin, nor do I know how difficult the lobster dish is to make.

                                                    Yet again - we only know what we see. And it just seemed he took the easy way out.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                      yamalam Feb 5, 2009 01:18 PM

                                                      "If Stefan has a shortcoming it is that his food lacks imagination, but no one could doubt his credentials as a skilled technician."

                                                      Maybe following Chef Ripert around for 3 weeks will help him develop past this plateau

                                                      I think his internship is scheduled after my & Eric's wedding, so I'll do my best to guide Stefan along, just for you guys.

                                                      -The Future Mrs. Ripert

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                        chowser Feb 6, 2009 05:29 AM

                                                        I agree--he's an excellent sous chef and can carry out orders, even when things go wrong but has he created anything? He and Jeff were yin and yang.

                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                          a
                                                          AMFM Feb 6, 2009 07:10 PM

                                                          he did create apparently amazing desserts in restaurant wars.

                                                          1. re: AMFM
                                                            chowser Feb 8, 2009 04:54 PM

                                                            Didn't he make panna cotta and cake? Apparently excellent but creative? He did wing it when the freezer didn't work and I give him a lot of credit for that.

                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                              goodhealthgourmet Feb 8, 2009 05:16 PM

                                                              chowser, i just looked up the recipes because i thought i recalled then being pretty impressive.

                                                              he did three:
                                                              - Ginger & Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Ginger Honey
                                                              - Mango Lollipops (w/mint & chocolate)
                                                              - Orange Chocolate Rice Parfait with Pineapple and Coconut.

                                                              looking at the recipes, i personally think the parfait was the most creative (according to the recipes it was also the most time-consuming). the lollipops were simple, but a charming idea. and though panna cotta isn't the most original thing anyone's ever done on this show, the flavors were unique.

                                                              i can't believe i'm defending Stefan, but he really has grown on me!

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                chowser Feb 9, 2009 04:48 AM

                                                                I stand corrected. I've stereotyped him into being a great technician, like Ariane, so must have simplified it in my mind. I'd need to try them first, at the risk of being like Jamie, prejudging, but mango, mint and chocolate? Orange, chocolate, pineapple and coconut? He's venturing into Jeff territory there (another stereotype;-) ).

                                                                Stefan has grown on me, too, and I think could easily pull this off. I think they've portrayed him as more arrogant than he really is (somewhere else in this quickly approaching 300 post thread). He is funny and self deprecating. It seems like the other chefs like him, Hosea aside, and even then they seem to get along. We'll never know if how many leading questions they've asked to get the right camera responses. I do like how he pulls together to help others and was impressed when he improvised with the freezer thing. But, there doesn't seem to be the competition of great chefs, like last time with Richard and Stephanie and I miss that.

                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                  Ruth Lafler Feb 9, 2009 10:55 AM

                                                                  I agree! Sometimes Stefan is a little bit of a sexist pig, but what other people are perceiving as arrogance I'm reading as a rather dry sense of humor: he's saying a lot of that with tongue in cheek or playing stuff up a bit for the camera.

                                                                  I'm still not sure of his cooking. I don't have a really good sense of what his personal style is underneath the classical European approach that he falls back on for challenges. I assume we'll see at the finale!

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                    NellyNel Feb 9, 2009 11:07 AM

                                                                    I have a horrible feeling in my gut - that Stefan is not going to make it to the finale!
                                                                    I don't know why..

                                                                    Maybe Gails cryptic "Everything is not as it seems" or whatever it was she said!

                                                                    1. re: NellyNel
                                                                      fame da lupo Feb 9, 2009 11:28 AM

                                                                      Me too. It'd be a shame if it Stefan didn't make it.

                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                  a_and_w Feb 9, 2009 09:01 AM

                                                                  "i can't believe i'm defending Stefan, but he really has grown on me!"

                                                                  Me too...LOL!

                                                                  1. re: a_and_w
                                                                    Phaedrus Feb 9, 2009 09:27 AM

                                                                    I'm sure either antibiotics or surgery could remove that from your body.

                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Feb 9, 2009 10:07 AM

                                                                      cute, as always Phaedrus :)

                                                        2. re: Phaedrus
                                                          roxlet Feb 5, 2009 02:43 PM

                                                          Every one keeps referring to Stefan as German. Isn't he a Finn who has lived in Germany?

                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                            PorkButt Feb 5, 2009 02:54 PM

                                                            I'd bet that Stefan grew up in Germany because he speaks English with a German accent (I've worked with both multi-lingual Germans and Finns and their accents are easily distinguished)

                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                              Ruth Lafler Feb 5, 2009 02:58 PM

                                                              Stefan's nationality is Finnish, but his last name is German, so he's ethnically German, plus he has lived in Germany. There are a fair number of ethnic Germans in Finland (I had a roommate who had a Finnish first name, a German last name was was actually Swedish by nationality! In other words, her family came to Sweden from Germany via Finland). Europe isn't that big and people move around; borders change; in many places nationality is not the same as ethnic/cultural identity. Sort of like the US, with all our "hyphenated Americans" who are born and raised here but are still close to the ethnic/cultural roots of their immigrant parents.

                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                roxlet Feb 5, 2009 04:05 PM

                                                                But doesn't he identify himself as Finnish?

                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                  Withnail42 Feb 5, 2009 06:15 PM

                                                                  German, Finn...niether is a real barrel of laughs. And this is said with both liniages in the family tree.

                                                        3. re: LindaWhit
                                                          a_and_w Feb 6, 2009 07:01 AM

                                                          I just had an idea of what Gail might mean based on this week's promo.

                                                          WARNING: SPOILERS

                                                          Apparently, one of the other chefs will injure his or her hand. It's possible Stefan might lose in NOLA because he's disabled. Alternatively, I'm hoping Jamie will be brought back to take the injured chef's place.

                                                          1. re: a_and_w
                                                            NellyNel Feb 6, 2009 07:09 AM

                                                            No - because you actually see that is Fabio's hand that is injured...
                                                            Unless something happened to Stefan as well (?)

                                                            1. re: a_and_w
                                                              LindaWhit Feb 6, 2009 07:39 AM

                                                              As Nelly said, you see that it's Fabio who's injured his hand. It was definitely him in the scene talking about not being able to prep or use appropriate knives, etc.

                                                              And if he cannot continue, I'd think that whoever was *last* told to PYKAG would be brought back - not Jamie.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                a_and_w Feb 6, 2009 07:54 AM

                                                                I simply used Stefan as an example -- it could just as easily be Fabio particularly if there's a substitution. Here's how such a scenario might work. Fabio injures his hand before the next challenge. Instead of simply allowing the final four to go forward by default, they allow Jamie to take his place. But you're both probably right that this is just wishful thinking...LOL!

                                              3. e
                                                Evilbanana11 Feb 4, 2009 07:05 PM

                                                I've been telling everyone since the beginning, Stefan may be an A-hole but he knows his stuff. Anyone feel Hosea is intimidated by Stefan? He mentions how he's going to whoop his azz every episode but fails, now he's starting with this US vs Euro crap. Seriously the guy needs to stop with all this drama and just cook.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Evilbanana11
                                                  l
                                                  liveloveat34 Feb 4, 2009 07:08 PM

                                                  totally agree- and all hosea does is bitch about stefan, whereas stefan actually cooks- and cooks exceptionally well at that! stefan def seems to be top chef in my book, and i am soo so jealous of his prize! if stefan, fabio, and carla are in the top 3 i'm going to aspen!

                                                  1. re: liveloveat34
                                                    g
                                                    gastrotect Feb 5, 2009 06:36 AM

                                                    It's not in Aspen. It's New Orleans and it has already been filmed. Which I think will be way more interesting. Stefan will be in Aspen though. That was part of his prize.

                                                    1. re: liveloveat34
                                                      edible complex Feb 5, 2009 01:17 PM

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587945

                                                      for season finale thoughts.
                                                      Marcel was also spotted at Commander's the day of the filming.
                                                      had lunch at Commander's today, and no one is talking.

                                                  2. CoryKatherine Feb 4, 2009 07:06 PM

                                                    I AM DUMBFOUNDED. Jamie before Leah? Maybe Jamie didn't do her best work tonight but she knew her mistake! I totally pictured her in the top 3. I never EVER imagined she'd go in this episode. She is better than Leah and Hosea combined. This is seriously ridiculous.

                                                    ps where did carla come from? 2 episodes and suddenly she's a frontrunner? huh? i almost counted her out a few weeks ago... top chef never ceases to amaze

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: CoryKatherine
                                                      e
                                                      Ericandblueboy Feb 6, 2009 05:19 AM

                                                      Carla is inconsistent. I wouldn't be surprised that she gets eliminated next week. She can only work within her comfort zone.

                                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy
                                                        ccbweb Feb 6, 2009 06:23 AM

                                                        It's clear, though, that her comfort zone is far larger than I think most viewers would have thought. She clearly nailed the Le Bernardin dish in the most recent episode, including a really astute analysis of the nature of the sauce based on how it changed as it cooled.

                                                        She does seem to have been inconsistent in previous challenges but she's done very well in the last couple and I can easily see her outlasting Leah, Hosea and Fabio. If she can pull off one real surprise, she could win the whole thing.

                                                        1. re: ccbweb
                                                          goodhealthgourmet Feb 6, 2009 08:25 AM

                                                          i love Carla, and i think it would be great to see her in the finale. there's no doubt she has a refined palate, as well as the skills that come with classical training. but as others have mentioned, her lack of consistency in past challenges has me wondering if she's truly up to it...and she really hasn't demonstrated much of an ability to think on the fly - she was at a loss to come up with ideas for the Restaurant Wars menu, and she really let the freezer issue get the best of her with her desserts instead of finding a way to make adjustments as Stefan did.

                                                          she made a comment about Jeff's "creative monkeys" getting the best of him when he got the axe...but perhaps she needs to let her own creative monkeys out of their cage...?

                                                          and really, what IS it with chefs on this show & their obsession with monkeys??

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                            ccbweb Feb 6, 2009 09:07 AM

                                                            I think the monkeys thing is just like the "it is what it is" thing. A handful of people who are living and working together 24/7 for a condensed period of time....it's got to be a bit like summer camp. Someone says something funny and it sticks for a couple of weeks. They only had to talk about monkeys as a sort of group joke or reference for a relatively short period of time. We just get to hear about it for months as the episodes air. Lucky us. Woo hoo.

                                                            1. re: ccbweb
                                                              LindaWhit Feb 6, 2009 09:26 AM

                                                              Yeah, but Hung used the phrase "My monkey could do XXX with his eyes closed" all the time in Season 3 as well. I think that's what ghg was talking about - it's been in several seasons, not just this one.

                                                              1. re: ccbweb
                                                                goodhealthgourmet Feb 6, 2009 09:28 AM

                                                                it's not just this season though...remember Hung's favorite line? "Even my monkey could make that."

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                  ccbweb Feb 6, 2009 09:39 AM

                                                                  Aha. I can't say that I paid enough attention through the years to have picked up on that. This one is beyond what I know anything about (which happens a lot).

                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                chowser Feb 6, 2009 09:41 AM

                                                                I think Carla has gained confidence over the past weeks which has made the difference. Remember in the beginning when she added the scallop because she was outguessing herself in what they wanted? Once she got a win under her belt and broke out of the "I make great pastry" mold, she seems to have shined.

                                                        2. CoryKatherine Feb 4, 2009 07:09 PM

                                                          Hosea is a fish guy and he didn't realize the fish needed to be seared!! SO DUMB. Such a dumb decision. Ugh. Jamie wasn't my favorite but this was plain unjust

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: CoryKatherine
                                                            e
                                                            Evilbanana11 Feb 4, 2009 07:12 PM

                                                            He did sear the fish. What he failed to catch was that he should have applied the spices after the searing and not before.

                                                            1. re: Evilbanana11
                                                              susancinsf Feb 4, 2009 08:14 PM

                                                              I am no Top Chef, but that order (searing first, then apply the spices) seems obvious to me....

                                                              1. re: susancinsf
                                                                ccbweb Feb 6, 2009 06:25 AM

                                                                I'm not sure whether it would have been obvious from eating the dish (having not eaten the dish) but I don't think that order is something that would be obvious generally. In most dishes you'd season/spice the fish (or whatever) and then sear it. It may well have been clear from the dish as it was at Le Bernardin that the order used in preparing it was obvious.

                                                                1. re: ccbweb
                                                                  susancinsf Feb 6, 2009 07:43 AM

                                                                  the reason I thought it was obvious was the heaviness/ thickness of the zatar/spice crust. It isn't like salt and peppering the meat; don't see how you could get a sear if you didn't sear first. It is more like a crust than a seasoning (though it wasn't clear to me that it was supposed to be that thick).

                                                          2. c
                                                            charmedgirl Feb 4, 2009 07:14 PM

                                                            Ok, first, Jamie goes before Hosea or Leah? WTF?!?!?!?? The top 4 should have been Stefan, Carla, Fabio and Jamie.

                                                            That said, where does Jamie get off looking down her nose at the food at Le Bernardin? "Uninspiring?" She needs to get her ego in check.

                                                            Hosea is a big baby. Wah wah wah, Stefan has been filleting eel since he was a kid. Cry me a river dude. The Stefan/euro-chef bashing is pathetic.

                                                            And AGAIN Leah's comment is about how "cute" Ripert is. She did that last week -- her one comment about football was how hot a particular player is. Does she think of ANYTHING ELSE? Then there's her comment in the second episode about how she isn't comfortable unless she's in a relationship, and her indiscretion with Hosea two weeks ago ... double pathetic.

                                                            Leah giving up in the quick fire???? I have no words. Triple pathetic.

                                                            ... she and Hosea deserve each other.

                                                            Yay for Carla making it to the top 3!!

                                                            And finally... that prize is freaking amazing. OMG. Awesome.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: charmedgirl
                                                              LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 05:24 AM

                                                              "Yay for Carla making it to the top 3!! "
                                                              ~~~~~~~
                                                              ??? We're still at five - is that what you meant?

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                c
                                                                charmedgirl Feb 5, 2009 05:29 AM

                                                                No, I meant top 3. She was one of the top 3 chefs last night and in contention to win the challenge. She's on a roll after being in the top 3 and then getting the win last week. Yay for her! :-)

                                                                1. re: charmedgirl
                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 05:44 AM

                                                                  Ohhhh! Sorry, I wasn't putting it into context for just this particular challenge.

                                                              2. re: charmedgirl
                                                                p
                                                                pisang goreng Feb 5, 2009 09:00 AM

                                                                "And finally... that prize is freaking amazing. OMG. Awesome."

                                                                Seriously. Best. Prize. Ever.

                                                                (*drool*)

                                                              3. b
                                                                Budget Palate Feb 4, 2009 07:19 PM

                                                                It seemed clear that Tom was trying to find a way to keep Jamie, but in the end the challenge was cut and dry, and her dish was evidently the worst, so they had to eliminate her. What a terrible result to have her go home before Leah, though. Jamie seemed to have a way with food that was careful and thoughtful. Leah doesn't seem to have a culinary point -of-view or any kind of passion for it.

                                                                I can't see how the final episodes of this season can be anything but compromised. They lost a real chef there, I think, the real deal. Oh well.

                                                                Almost as shocking as Jamie going home was Jamie's comments that Ripert's food is not inspiring. Even with the fact that these comments were made after she was eliminated, they were still surprising.

                                                                A weird and surprising episode. Guess I'll go read Colicchio's comments.

                                                                19 Replies
                                                                1. re: Budget Palate
                                                                  d
                                                                  dmd_kc Feb 4, 2009 07:38 PM

                                                                  I have no problem with Jamie's saying that she wasn't personally inspired by his food, actually. Ripert is a master at what he does, which is definitely minimal. I don't think you'd term it "lusty" or "exuberant." It's perfect for what he's aiming for, but thank god not every chef wants to be him.

                                                                  1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                    a
                                                                    AMFM Feb 4, 2009 11:06 PM

                                                                    i agree. she didn't say it was awful - just that it wasn't her type of food. sucks she went home.

                                                                    by the way, despite the annoying behavior of a few of them out of the kitchen, i have to say that i continue to be impressed with the way this group helps each other out in the kitchen.

                                                                    1. re: AMFM
                                                                      b
                                                                      Budget Palate Feb 5, 2009 08:50 AM

                                                                      I agree, AMFM. This is the least whiny and backstabbing bunch of them all. Normally I am a little embarassed for my entire generation, but not this time. Exception: Leah.

                                                                      Additional random thought on Jamie: Tom's blog this week is blah, but Gail's is pretty interesting, and in it she mentions that Jamie's restaurant has a quite a following. I am not surprised.

                                                                      Additional random thought on Ripert: I was using a cookbook a few years back, A Return to Cooking. It was one of these oversized impractical cookbooks that I usually avoid, but this one was very good. It was Ripert's. At the time I didn't know who he was.

                                                                      1. re: Budget Palate
                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Feb 5, 2009 09:29 AM

                                                                        Exception: Leah.
                                                                        ~~~~~~~
                                                                        Exception #2: Hosea. if he whines about the Euros again, someone should stab him with a fork. shut up & cook something good, you big baby...then maybe Stefan won't win every challenge.

                                                                        1. re: Budget Palate
                                                                          susancinsf Feb 5, 2009 09:35 AM

                                                                          Absinthe (Jamie's restaurant in SF) may be popular, but doesn't get a huge amount of mention or love, or lack of love for that matter, on the SF Chowhound board. Hounds do seem to really like brunch there, and the burger. It is French inspired and isn't exactly what I would call adventurous food (I mention that only because that seemed to be part of Jamie's critism of Ripert's menu, that it was simple somehow). (I do find it amusing to note that they have deviled eggs on the menu at Absinthe at brunch: Carla would be proud :-)) Personally, I've never eaten at Absinthe, have thought about it a few times, but in the same price range there are a lot of SF places I find more interesting.

                                                                          Current Absinthe dinner menu:

                                                                          http://www.absinthe.com/menus.php?men...

                                                                          1. re: susancinsf
                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 10:08 AM

                                                                            Reading Jamie's bio, I see she does what Carla does: "a lot of love goes into each dish". ;-)

                                                                            1. re: susancinsf
                                                                              Ruth Lafler Feb 5, 2009 11:47 AM

                                                                              *Ariane* would be proud.

                                                                              Absinthe is not "Jamie's restaurant" -- it's the restaurant where she works. The restaruant was in existence -- and quite successful -- long before she got there, and will undoubtedly continue to be after she moves on. It's a pretty traditional French brasserie, so the idea that there's much creative going on is a little far-fetched. Apparently she did revamp the menu when she took over, but she's still working within the parameters estalished for the restaurant.

                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                susancinsf Feb 5, 2009 12:21 PM

                                                                                yes, you are right, thanks for the correction! (re Ariane), and the clarification re Absinthe (which I knew, just was being sloppy in my reference). I missed a few weeks when I had no cable, am now trying to get back up to speed....

                                                                                1. re: susancinsf
                                                                                  Ruth Lafler Feb 5, 2009 02:42 PM

                                                                                  Yeah, I was just clarifying for people who don't know anything about Absinthe at all.

                                                                                  Which reminds me -- with all the great chefs/restaurants in San Francisco, no one from SF has really shone on Top Chef. In fact, they've mostly been pretty lame.

                                                                              2. re: susancinsf
                                                                                d
                                                                                dmjordan Feb 5, 2009 02:18 PM

                                                                                "(I do find it amusing to note that they have deviled eggs on the menu at Absinthe at brunch: Carla would be proud :-)) "

                                                                                Wasn't it Ariane that made the deviled eggs?

                                                                                ETA: Oops, didn't see that someone already wrote that!

                                                                              3. re: Budget Palate
                                                                                Miss Needle Feb 5, 2009 10:38 AM

                                                                                While I would like to think that this is the least whiny and backstabbing group, I'm not really sure if this really is the case. This pool knows how to play the game unlike Groups 1 or 2. They know how important the exposure is and how important it is for them to be seen in a good light. It's probably more important to be viewed well as opposed to winning the show (ahem -- what's Ilan up to?). In the sequester video, Jamie said that she thought she represented herself well. Nikki from Season 4 once said something along the lines of how if you complain you're going to be perceived as "that" guy. The later groups are (or should be) much smarter about how to behave in front of a camera -- though that didn't really stop Leah from acting like a total baby.

                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 10:47 AM

                                                                                  And don't forget Miss Sourpuss from last season. Three seasons is surely enough to get it through Lisa's thick skull that being a beeyotch on TV for all the world to see might not be the best PR. Certainly didn't stop her either.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                    Miss Needle Feb 5, 2009 10:52 AM

                                                                                    Oh, yes. And it didn't stop Dale Talde either. Those two are probably dream "cheftestants" in the producers' eyes -- both got very far and both made for some good TV.

                                                                              4. re: AMFM
                                                                                p
                                                                                pisang goreng Feb 5, 2009 09:49 AM

                                                                                "i continue to be impressed with the way this group helps each other out in the kitchen."

                                                                                Me too. This season's group of cheftestants from the beginning has been the most collegial. Backstabbing and snarking has really been kept at a minimum. I for one am glad there hasn't been so much drama (i.e. no attempted head-shavings).

                                                                                1. re: pisang goreng
                                                                                  t
                                                                                  TampaAurora Feb 5, 2009 10:08 AM

                                                                                  Instead we have the love bird updates. It seems it's more team oriented but the soap opera aspect remains.

                                                                                  1. re: TampaAurora
                                                                                    p
                                                                                    pisang goreng Feb 5, 2009 10:29 AM

                                                                                    You've gotta admit there's a lot more "love" this season. In addition to the obvious love-bird situation, we've got Carla "sendin' out the love" in her food and Stefan having a crush on Jamie and the Stefan/Fabio "bromance" (thankfully not as gross as the Spike/Andrew bromance). Did you see Jamie sitting on Fabio's lap in the Stew Room before she got pykag'd? Cute!

                                                                                    1. re: pisang goreng
                                                                                      n
                                                                                      newbatgirl Feb 5, 2009 05:44 PM

                                                                                      I saw that and thought it was cute especially since if I were Jamie, lesbian or not, that's where I would be! Fabio is just a big Italian Teddy Bear. How do you say cuddly in Italian?

                                                                                      I think you're right thst this season's chefs have more of a "bond" than some of the previous seasons. They seem to have more fun together in the downtime, too.

                                                                                      1. re: newbatgirl
                                                                                        fame da lupo Feb 5, 2009 07:34 PM

                                                                                        Re: Fabio, you would say that he is a 'tenerone,' which comes from the verb "tenere" or "to hold."

                                                                                        1. re: fame da lupo
                                                                                          n
                                                                                          Nettie Feb 6, 2009 10:25 AM

                                                                                          What an excellent word--thanks!

                                                                          2. e
                                                                            Evilbanana11 Feb 4, 2009 07:27 PM

                                                                            They reiterate every episode that the elimination criteria is based only on the current episode and not on past history. Everyone gets a clean slate every new show. Hosea and Leah are clearly worse chefs than Jamie but Jamie did the worse in the elimination challenge(Padma said she would have sent the dish back).

                                                                            Those are the rules they set up at the beginning so I'm glad they abide by them but consequently some of the more skilled individuals can be sent home at any moment eg. Jeff and Jamie.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Evilbanana11
                                                                              ChefJune Feb 5, 2009 06:46 AM

                                                                              remember Tre in season 3?

                                                                            2. d
                                                                              dmd_kc Feb 4, 2009 07:29 PM

                                                                              Again, the judges have zero consistency. Colicchio says in his blog that five of the six were good. And they give it to the one who did -- by choice, mind you -- the dish that was obviously the easiest by far. I'm sure le Bernadin does it exquisitely, but COME ON. That's a Cooking School 201 preparation.

                                                                              So they don't reward complexity. They don't reward having the attitude of a Top Chef (something they pull out when it's convenient). Instead, they go back to the person they've obviously decided is their winner. (And, yes, I admit they did the same with Harold Dieterle in season 1, even though I liked him and hear Perilla is very good.)

                                                                              I'm certain Stefan will win it, meaning three out of their five winners so far are among the most execrable people in the casts. The judges obviously have their minds made up, and I think only Carla seems to have the skills to outcook him. Hosea and Leah almost make me want to throw my slippers at the TV.

                                                                              It's not quite as bad as season 2, but it's definitely a trainwreck that I'm contemplating giving up on.

                                                                              1. b
                                                                                blackoak Feb 4, 2009 09:02 PM

                                                                                I'm only now learning how to cook, and I don't really eat or prepare fish (yet), but I genuinely don't understand tonight's outcome. Based on what was shown when the contestants' meals were tasted and at the Judges' Table;

                                                                                Hosea ("I'm the seafood guy") overcooked his monk fish, served it, then showed the Judges either a lack of knowledge or experience when he told the judges he thought the fish was prepared properly (or maybe he was just trying to stand behind his dish?).

                                                                                Leah thought her mahi-mahi was undercooked so she ended up overcooking it, but when the Judges brought it up she did appear to use it as an opportunity to learn from her mistakes.

                                                                                Jamie cooked her black bass properly but ruined the braised celery, knew she ruined it, and explained to the Judges what she did wrong and how she would have corrected it, showing knowledge and a sense of responsibility.

                                                                                My question is (and I may be completely totally 100% wrong) if they couldn't execute the correct basic cooking of the main 'protein' of their respective dishes shouldn't Hosea or Leah have been sent home?

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: blackoak
                                                                                  thew Feb 5, 2009 05:53 AM

                                                                                  the dish as a whole was being judged, not just the protein.

                                                                                  jaime's was inedible, the others merely flawed

                                                                                2. h
                                                                                  Heyteacher Feb 4, 2009 09:29 PM

                                                                                  I can't believe it. Leah is ridiculous and Jaime is THE better chef. I was so sad for Jaime after watching.....

                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                    jeanmarieok Feb 4, 2009 09:39 PM

                                                                                    I really thought Jamie would make it to the final. Fabio has totally grown on me, and Carla has really stepped up to the plate, too. I think both Leah and Hosea are going soon, Leah for attitude alone. And poor Hosea has his confidence shaken I think, being the seafood guy and pretty much losing it all. Stephan seems unstoppable at this point, but I'm wondering if Fabio can beat him.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                                      ccbweb Feb 6, 2009 06:33 AM

                                                                                      The thing seems to be that attitude isn't all that relevant when they get to the Judge's Table. If Leah can manage to put out a good dish, she'll move on.

                                                                                    2. j
                                                                                      Jwsel Feb 4, 2009 09:54 PM

                                                                                      What really bothered me about this challenge is that Jamie's problem was readily correctable and she knew what it was -- but the time constraints of the challenge prevented her from making the fix. In a real restaurant, she would have tossed the dish and remade it, this time ensuring that she controlled the saltiness. But on Top Chef, she would have been forced to send an empty plate.

                                                                                      I understand that she screwed up, but she was making a sauce with a decidedly difficult ingredient -- Serrano ham. That's a fairly unfamiliar ingredient to begin with, but even among those who have eaten it, how many chefs have converted it into a sauce? Taking a high-salt ingredient and converting it into a sauce for the first time is going to be tricky. And I doubt anyone of Ripert's sous chefs got it right the first time (especially if they tried to make it without a recipe or guidance.) The fact that Jaime was able to identify the problem and immediately explain what she would have done differently seems to show her qualifications far more than Leah, who was clueless about what she was doing, and Hosea, who blew the most basic element of his dish -- cooking it properly.

                                                                                      I think Jaime's elimination also highlights what I found relatively unfair about the challenge. The dishes they were attempting to replicate were not at equally difficult. I thought Carla should have won because she figured out the sauce for her dish (despite the misleading name). Stefan's might have been better, but everyone agreed that his dish was the easiest to replicate.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Jwsel
                                                                                        LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 05:01 AM

                                                                                        I agree completely with your last comment - Chef Ripert seemed extremely impressed that Carla figured out the sauce on her dish. The dishes were not at all the same, and Stefan knew that. I'm really REALLY hoping that Gail's blog comment about "nothing is what they seem" regarding the finale in NOLA means that Stefan isn't the winner.

                                                                                        1. re: Jwsel
                                                                                          Caitlin McGrath Feb 5, 2009 11:11 AM

                                                                                          You make a very good point about the dishes not being equally complex, and, interestingly, given the outcome, Ripert says in his Bravo Q&A that Jamie's dish is the most difficult to replicate, that it tastes simple but is complex to produce.

                                                                                        2. dave_c Feb 4, 2009 10:50 PM

                                                                                          What's up with Jamie's attitude? Are the chef voiceovers/commentary done after service while in the stew room? She may have been defensive about her service... but she definately came off as stuck up. However, she should have stayed. Her fish was cooked nicely, but oversalted the celery.

                                                                                          Why does Leah stay? She her fish is overcooked or inconsistently and her sauce is wrong.

                                                                                          I don't understand Hosea... He's a "seafood" chef, but seems to hose up the seafood challenges.

                                                                                          Wow! Carla is starting to peak. She's pulling a Casey (TC3) and coming into her own.

                                                                                          Cher Ripert seems like a very cool dude. Very mellow, always smiling and seems very helpful.

                                                                                          1. m
                                                                                            miss_bennet Feb 5, 2009 01:29 AM

                                                                                            Since the producers have spent a lot of time making Stefan seem like a jerk, I think it's kind of funny that he won the prize. I wonder if Chef Ripert will become as frustrated with Stefan as Hosea has become?

                                                                                            (I feel certain, however, that Chef Ripert would thoroughly enjoy spending a week with Carla.)

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: miss_bennet
                                                                                              s
                                                                                              sasha1 Feb 5, 2009 09:12 AM

                                                                                              I wonder if Stefan will re-hash the emulsion argument again while trailing Ripert around?

                                                                                              I was sorry to see Jamie go over Leah. And was sorry to see Jeff go over Fabio. Although I personally love Fabio for entertainment value, he's only shone a few times (carpaccio, chem lab olives), and tanked just as often. Overcooked meat, over-pestoed ravioli. I don't think he's a contender for the top.

                                                                                              Edited to add -I cracked up on his vegetable comment. "Me, I donna like-a vegetables too much. When there is-a meat-a and a fish-a, who needs-a vegetables?"

                                                                                              I love Carla. She has grown on me so much. When I first saw her, I wasn't sure how a muppet made it onto the set. And they really downplayed her creds. As an earlier commenter posted, I don't think they ever discussed her as more than a caterer who can pull out desserts until last night, when all of a sudden she was classically trained, and could pull together a red wine not bernaise sauce.

                                                                                              Now that Jamie's gone, I hope Carla and her googly eyes and "sometimes it's gotta be quick love" take it home.

                                                                                            2. Fritter Feb 5, 2009 02:15 AM

                                                                                              I'm almost giving up on this show. It's become more of a drama fest than a cooking show. They should really stop calling it "Top Chef" and start calling it Top Plugs or Top Meal.
                                                                                              I have line cooks that could easilly replicate the dish Stephan had.
                                                                                              Jamie and Leah had the most difficult dishes by a wide margin.
                                                                                              Leah gives up on the quickfire. That's an unforgivable sin in the kitchen and this is the level of her skill and interest in front of Eric Ripert?
                                                                                              Leah ruins the dish and has no idea how to fix it.
                                                                                              Jamie cooks the fish perfectly but gets sent packing for not braising celery properly?
                                                                                              It seems the show is just hoping for more drama between Leah and Hoseah.
                                                                                              If this was indeed "Top Chef" then all of their work until this point would have been considered and Leah would have been sent packing.

                                                                                              Stephans prize, WOW!

                                                                                              1. m
                                                                                                momjamin Feb 5, 2009 03:04 AM

                                                                                                OK folks -- I agree that Jamie should have made it to the finals, and I've been ready for Leah to disappear for weeks now, but reading the blogs at bravotv clarifies the decision a little more than the JT editing.

                                                                                                Stefan always talks as though he's got no problem with what he's doing. The other chefs had difficult dishes and weren't trying to do the lobster. That does not mean he was doing a couple little spins while the others were attempting quadruple Salchows. Ripert's interview at Bravo indicates the lobster was actually a difficult dish and Stefan nailed it. Stefan seemed to indicate that it was "easy" because he liked it and because he could tell the ingredients when he was eating it/the flavors were familiar to him.

                                                                                                Jamie's fish may have been cooked well, but that may have been the judges looking for something positive to say. The celery was salty and the sauce was burned, and the dish was inedible. She was so thrown by the whole challenge that she didn't even have time to let Ripert check in with her before service -- I dunno -- I would have found time to get 30 seconds of feedback from him, maybe especially if I was in the weeds. I've eaten at one of his restaurants. I wasn't bored!

                                                                                                Leah's dish did not match the target, but it was apparently edible, despite TY's comment about wishing it weren't still stuck in his teeth.

                                                                                                The Le Cirque QF from season 3, where they all had to do the sea bass wrapped in potatoes was easier for the viewer to compare, FWIW.

                                                                                                Oh, and my favorite quote of the episode, Padma to Eric: "Congratulations. You are the Top Chef." ;-)

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 05:11 AM

                                                                                                  Re: Padma's comment to Chef Ripert - do you think that was a dig on her part after Toby's effusive remarks about Ripert's actual dish? I kinda think it was. I loved it. :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                    momjamin Feb 5, 2009 05:46 AM

                                                                                                    Oh totally -- the comment was great, but the context made it better ;-)

                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                      a_and_w Feb 5, 2009 06:38 AM

                                                                                                      And the reaction by Ripert was precious!

                                                                                                2. roxlet Feb 5, 2009 03:57 AM

                                                                                                  I was so disappointed that Carla, my BFF, did not win this challenge. She is coming on strong, and I am pleased to see that someone whose attitude is clearly up-beat can succeed. It is so interesting that she was savvy enough to decipher the fairly complex elements of her dish and win the praise of Ripert but Stefan pulled out a win with a much more straighfoward dish. I ate at Le Bernadin a bunch of times years ago, and to some extent, I have to agree with Jamie. Although the food is delicious and meticulously prepared, I just never found it that exciting. It's not that I'm not a fan of restraint, but my memory is as muted as the food, and I have never longed to return. I'm probably a heathen for saying so, and maybe I would feel differently if I went again, but Le Bernadin has never excited me. I find it interesting how different the results are from the perceptions of the viewers vis a vis the multiple failures of Leah and the single disaster of Jamie. Without putting too fine a point on it, send Leah home! The show loses credibility by having her hang around.

                                                                                                  1. PattiCakes Feb 5, 2009 05:42 AM

                                                                                                    I was a little disappointed that they had to prep an eel in the QF -- almost seemed like a set-up for Stefan, having been born & bred in Germany. Eel is very common. On the other hand, so much has been made of Hosea's working in a seafood reastaurant, one would have thought the QF was unfairly skewed in his direction as well.

                                                                                                    Disappointed that not more was made of the simplicity of Stefan's lobster dish compared to the dishes of others. Everyone knows what a bernaise is, but Carla, for instance, had to do some pretty astute sleuthing to match her sauce.

                                                                                                    Also astounded that none of the chefs saw the challenge coming -- don't they watch episodes from past seasons? I think that if I were ever to be chosen as a contestant, I would study those like crazy.

                                                                                                    I was quite impressed with the graciousness of Chef Ripert. He never tore down the "students", but rather delivered constructive criticicism in a professional and respectful way. Kudos to him.

                                                                                                    The other thing that impressed my was the cooperation I saw going on in the kitchen. When it came to each chef's "crunch time", the others seemed to pitch in and gave advice, helped plate.& etc. Pissy faces and drama aside, I was happy to see that.

                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                      tofuburrito Feb 5, 2009 06:14 AM

                                                                                                      It's disappointing to me that in the last three weeks what I considered three of the top four have been sent packing. I understand they have to make their decisions on a challenge by challenge basis and I don't dispute the judges decisions (well in some cases I do) but I don't think there is anyone left who can knock off Stefan unless he really bombs on a dish. The remaining chefs are just not at his level. I think Radhika, Jamie and Jeff had a legitimate shot of winning. I don't think anyone else does unless there is an unexpected failure on Stefan's part. I don't have anything against Stefan, I would just like to see more of a challenge in the final. In my mind the strongest #2 now is Carla, she has really come on the past couple of weeks.

                                                                                                      1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                        a_and_w Feb 5, 2009 06:37 AM

                                                                                                        Come on. It's no more of a set-up than giving Fabio an anchovy.

                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                          d
                                                                                                          dmd_kc Feb 5, 2009 06:38 AM

                                                                                                          Having cooked eel in the past or not, I was absolutely shocked that Hosea didn't know the nail-in-the-head trick. I'm a total home-cook piker, and I knew that one. But then again, maybe I pay more attention to Chinese and Japanese cooking.

                                                                                                          I'm sure Stefan is the most technically adept of the people still there, but I find him very uncreative. And I also don't think the judges are taking into account how many times he's taken the easiest possible way out. I was particularly annoyed that he won the restaurant wars with a basic panna cotta and even more basic rice/fruit/chocolate parfait. Did you watch the video of Leann fixing it and mentioning multiple times that it's "very, very simple" (linked below)? THAT won the competition?

                                                                                                          http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/video...

                                                                                                          1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                            Fritter Feb 5, 2009 09:47 AM

                                                                                                            " I was absolutely shocked that Hosea didn't know the nail-in-the-head trick"

                                                                                                            Why? It's not the only way to clean an eel or even the most efficient way IMO.

                                                                                                            1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                              Blueicus Feb 5, 2009 10:20 AM

                                                                                                              I only know of the nail in the head because I watched the Japanese iron chef and saw them doing it.

                                                                                                              1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                dmd_kc Feb 5, 2009 01:47 PM

                                                                                                                I'm just sayin' that I've read about that technique in a lot of books, and Hosea seemed 100% clueless on how even to start. And he's supposedly the fish guy.

                                                                                                                I've peeled precisely one eel in my life, and I did them both that way. I don't know if I'd have the leverage to do it without one end being spiked in place. Maybe I need eel practice. :)

                                                                                                                1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                  thew Feb 5, 2009 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                  to my mind spicing then searing is more common overall than searing then spicing

                                                                                                              2. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                momjamin Feb 6, 2009 04:21 AM

                                                                                                                I got the impression that Hosea was thrown by being handed a squirming eel, when he was already frayed working w/fish in front of Ripert, but that he did actually know of the nail technique even if he'd never done it -- he made a comment that he was mad he hadn't already thought of it when Stefan pulled out his hammer.

                                                                                                                I personally was thinking during that segment, that I would have been happy to have been eliminated during either of the first two rounds just so I wouldn't have to deal with it :-P From the looks on the other chefs' faces, they may have been thinking something similar!

                                                                                                              3. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                                susancinsf Feb 5, 2009 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                I watched the episode twice last night (hey Chef Ripert is worth it, and American Idol is boorriiing this season :-)) and after viewing number two, I am not at all convinced that most of them were really surprised at all. The looks when the knives came out were, for the most part, bemused, (as in thoughtful, not necessarily befuddled), not startled. I think it was clever editing to make it look like a big surprise....

                                                                                                                1. re: susancinsf
                                                                                                                  lisavf Feb 5, 2009 09:25 AM

                                                                                                                  Right. According to Stefan, they all saw it coming. Some of them were even taking notes under the table. So it was no surprise. Good for them! They're catching on. And it was a good challenge - I liked it.

                                                                                                                2. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                                  thew Feb 5, 2009 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                  stefan was born in finland.. grew up in germany...

                                                                                                                  1. re: thew
                                                                                                                    PattiCakes Feb 5, 2009 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                    I stand corrected. Thanks.

                                                                                                                  2. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                                    NellyNel Feb 6, 2009 05:36 AM

                                                                                                                    Actually, Patti, Ripert stated in the episode, and again in his Bravo interview, the lobester dish is quite a difficult dish.

                                                                                                                    And reading through the comments - Allot of folks have been saying how impressed they are about these cheftestants helping each other out.
                                                                                                                    And I agree!
                                                                                                                    But - what so far, no one has mentioned - is that Stefan was the one who was most helping his fellow chefs out (in this episode)
                                                                                                                    I know you guys don't like the guy - but he really impressed me with his self-lessness. If you watch the episode again - it is like he loves cooking so much - at that moment - he forgets that it is a competition. I loved seeing it!
                                                                                                                    He is now my favorite!
                                                                                                                    He may be arrogant, but he is not selfish!

                                                                                                                  3. a_and_w Feb 5, 2009 06:35 AM

                                                                                                                    Oh. My. God.

                                                                                                                    How do you send home Jamie? I had her and Stefan in my top two. The final four will be a joke -- Stefan will roll over the rest.

                                                                                                                    Interesting we got a family-edit head fake with Fabio.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: a_and_w
                                                                                                                      Miss Needle Feb 5, 2009 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                      "Interesting we got a family-edit head fake with Fabio."

                                                                                                                      Yes, I really think Bravo has wised up a bit. Finally!

                                                                                                                    2. pitu Feb 5, 2009 07:31 AM

                                                                                                                      Outrageous. Leah should have gone home. What was the rhetorical question judges asked to the effect of....
                                                                                                                      is it better to know what you did or be clueless...
                                                                                                                      and they went with clueless??

                                                                                                                      I just don't get it. Leah is clueless, gutless (runs away?? stops working??) makes obvious mistakes even after feedback from Ripert about the butter . . . and she stays in the competition. Wrong wrong wrong!

                                                                                                                      They appear to tape the talking heads comments afterwards, so I'm guessing Jamie already knew she was gone by the time they did her flat, snarkyish interview.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: pitu
                                                                                                                        g
                                                                                                                        gastrotect Feb 5, 2009 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                        In Tom's blog and Ripert's Q&A on Bravo they both singled Jamie's dish as inedible while the other 5 were "well done." They made it seem like Leah did a terrible job through editing, but apparently it was never in doubt who should go home.

                                                                                                                      2. TrishUntrapped Feb 5, 2009 07:57 AM

                                                                                                                        Is there anything likable about Leah?

                                                                                                                        Food, personality, attitude....?

                                                                                                                        26 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                                          HollyDolly Feb 5, 2009 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                          Oh people i am so ticked off Leah stayed. Jaime is a far better chef and she didn't give up.Surprised that Hosea didn't know the nail in the head trick with the eel.I've never prepared eel, but I saw that on the original Iron Chef show, the japanese one.I just knew Stefan was going to do that.
                                                                                                                          I donot understand why though she didn't braise the celery sans salt first. Then made the sauce and cooked it further in the sauce. Maybe she used too much ham. I've heard of taking a slice of ham and soaking it in milk to remove some of the salt.
                                                                                                                          Never had the pleasure of eating at Le Bernardin,but would like to some time.
                                                                                                                          You can overcook lobster, if you don't know what you are doing.
                                                                                                                          Glad Carla was in the top 3 on this challenge.She seems to be doing much better going solo.
                                                                                                                          Never was impressed with Leah in any way. Don't know why they keep her around except for the drama.

                                                                                                                          1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                            pisang goreng Feb 5, 2009 08:32 AM

                                                                                                                            From Ripert's interview on Bravo.com:

                                                                                                                            "Bravotv.com: When Leah gave up on the arctic char, what were you thinking?
                                                                                                                            "[Ripert]: Gone baby gone …"

                                                                                                                            Oh, if only. WHY did Jamie have to screw up her dish so badly? If she hadn't, Leah would probably have been PYKAG'd. Now we are stuck with Whiney Baby for at least another week. I am so disgusted with her baby voice and oh-I'm-so-helpless attitude. Leah, grow a backbone already and stop trying to manipulate whatever tough situation you are in by acting cute and flirty and helpless. Gah! How in the WORLD is she still in the competition???

                                                                                                                            Aside from the blubbering mass of jelly that is Leah, it was lovely to see that damn fine Eric Ripert. Too bad Carla didn't win; she and Eric seemed to click.

                                                                                                                            As for Jamie, I got the feeling from the beginning of last night's show that she was spent. She seemed listless and uninterested. Too bad because I thought she was pretty good -- certainly better than Leah and Fabio.

                                                                                                                            Next week looks really interesting with Jacques Pepin and Wylie Dufresne. Did I see Lidia Bastianich at the table too?

                                                                                                                            1. re: pisang goreng
                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 7, 2009 05:10 AM

                                                                                                                              I just watched the sequester house video and the previews for next week. In the Sequester House video, Jamie told the group that she and Leah had both gotten *hammered* in the stew room, which is why they talked with Hosea first. I suppose however long they talked with Hosea got them at least able to speak. <g> (Although Jamie did make fun of something Leah was saying to Toby Young.)

                                                                                                                              For the previews - looks like Wylie Dufresne wants them to wow them with a properly cooked egg. Fabio is going molecular gastronomy; I don't think anyone will be surprised with what Stefan is doing ;-) and Hosea says "everyone is hauling a$$ like crazy; the only one who's steady is Carla. I know her dishes are really simple; I don't think Wylie is going to be impressed." Isn't that a *sure* sign that she IS going to impress Wylie?

                                                                                                                              As for the Elimination challenge, it seems the guest judges are: Jacques Pepin, Wylie Dufresne, Lidia Bastianich, Susan Ungaro, and Marcus Samuelsson. It's a VERY interesting knife pull for which cheftestant gets which guest judge - two of the five get "matched" perfectly, I think - which could be a help or a hindrance. But I'm not sure how the knife pull will relate to what they have to do.

                                                                                                                              I'm curious - other than being President of the James Beard Foundation (and previously, editor-in-chief of Family Circle Magazine), what has Susan Ungaro done in the food world? Is she more like Gail - on the writing side of things?

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                ccbweb Feb 7, 2009 05:34 AM

                                                                                                                                Can we stick the spoilers for the next episode in a new thread for that episode? I'd like to avoid them until I see it.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 7, 2009 05:42 AM

                                                                                                                                  I think most of this was in the previews for the next show on TV as well. Perhaps not the specifics of what the QF challenge was, but the judges were shown (except I don't recall seeing Samuelsson there). I apologize. I tried not to say too much.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                    ccbweb Feb 7, 2009 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                                    Oh, no particular worries about what you wrote, Linda. I know that some folks make a game of inspecting everything online and in the previews and posting some pretty detailed information about what's to come. I'm one of those that likes seeing what comes in the episode first. I thought I'd stick my request in in case others wanted to build on your observations. Nothing for you to apologize for in my book.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                      Withnail42 Feb 9, 2009 04:40 AM

                                                                                                                                      Your right they were all in there.

                                                                                                                              2. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                                                                                                Phaedrus Feb 5, 2009 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                Hosea sees something he likes about her. Well, maybe not a great example. I'm sure her family likes her.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                  PattiCakes Feb 5, 2009 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                                  I am intriguiged by Gayle's comment on her blog "all is not what it seems". Leah is actually a guy? Stefan is an actor who has never cooked before? Hosea and Toby are dating? Carla ia much more accomplished than the editing has portrayed? Remember, we are at the absolute mercy of the what the editors have manipulated us into thinking.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                                                    Phaedrus Feb 5, 2009 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                                    Dammit Patti, you owe me a new keyboard. Do you know how hard it is to clean coffee from between the key? especially after it has gone through my nose? Sheesh!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                                                      Fritter Feb 5, 2009 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                                      What I thought was rather interesting about Gayle's blog was her comment about Jamie's celery being inedible. I thought that was rather unusual considering she was not there.
                                                                                                                                      It seems the Judges are trying to justify ousting Jamie. Wasn't Leah the only one that improperly cooked the protein?
                                                                                                                                      I really thought Eric and Tom were defending Jamie.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                        g
                                                                                                                                        gastrotect Feb 5, 2009 10:46 AM

                                                                                                                                        They didn't defend her in their Bravo blogs. Both of them said it was the worst dish hands down. It seemed there never really was a question of who should go home.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                          Fritter Feb 5, 2009 12:58 PM

                                                                                                                                          "They didn't defend her in their Bravo blogs"

                                                                                                                                          What was written in the blogs really stands in contrast to what they said on the show.
                                                                                                                                          At the Judges table Tom stated he " has no idea why leah should stick around when her head is clearly not in the game and she did not understand the dish at all". Tom also defended Jamie's celery at the dinner table telling Toby Young that her dish was a lot harder to make than it looked.
                                                                                                                                          Toby told Leah the fish he was served was raw.
                                                                                                                                          Toby Young also defended Jamie at the Judges table stating that she clearly understood her misstakes, in contrast to Leah.
                                                                                                                                          If you read Toby Youngs blog he tries to justify the about face in his position about Leahs dish being so bad as he had suggested at the Chefs table.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                            g
                                                                                                                                            gastrotect Feb 5, 2009 01:18 PM

                                                                                                                                            The more I think about it, I don't know that the blogs and the show contrast each other. They make valid points on the show about the dish being difficult, she realized her mistakes etc, but they never say it isn't the worst. And I think the other recreations, even if they weren't terribly loyal (Leah) weren't terrible in and of themselves. While Jamie's was.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: gastrotect
                                                                                                                                              Fritter Feb 6, 2009 02:50 AM

                                                                                                                                              I guess have to be the odd man out on this one. When Tom says ;
                                                                                                                                              "I have no idea why Leah should stick around when her head is clearly not in the game and she did not understand the dish at all" and they talk about how her fish was served raw, the sauce wasn't even close and then Tom states in his blog;
                                                                                                                                              "five of the six (dishes) were actually well done"
                                                                                                                                              That in my minds eye stands in stark contrast irrespective of post production editing.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                                Fritter Feb 6, 2009 05:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                No more pre-coffee posting! I just wanted to clarify my post.
                                                                                                                                                I meant to say Tom commented that the fish Leah served him was over cooked while Toby stated his was raw. On top of that they all commented how she wasn't even close on the sauce and Toby stated his dish did not have any miso. To me it's a stretch to go from that to "five dishes were well done".
                                                                                                                                                While a lot may have been edited out it really doesn't change what they did show us.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                                  pitu Feb 6, 2009 07:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                  yes Fritter, exactly

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Feb 5, 2009 01:46 PM

                                                                                                                                              What is said on the show is a really small fraction of what's said at judges' table, which reportedly goes on for hours. The editors try to pick out the best sound bites that sum up the critiques. But they also -- and I think it must have been very much the case this time -- include and omit portions of the judging to increase the suspense and make it look closer than it sometimes is. I understand the dramatic/entertainment reasons for doing that, but it does undermine somewhat the understanding of what's really going on from a competitive standpoint.

                                                                                                                                              In other words, the judges could have slagged Jamie's dish for hours and said a couple of nice things, and the editors chose only a snippet of the critical comments and *all* the positive comments, and then vice versa for Leah to make the outcome more suspenseful.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                NellyNel Feb 6, 2009 05:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                Yes - Ruth - I think you are absolutely right!
                                                                                                                                                They must do that on purpose so that the elimination is a shock - and it usually is!!!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                            PattiCakes Feb 5, 2009 11:11 AM

                                                                                                                                            I thought that was odd as well (comment about celery being inedible)..

                                                                                                                                            Celery itself is "salty". I remember being amazed when I was put on a low sodium diet years ago & given a list of foods to watch out for. Celery, long considered diet food, is high up on that list of foods with high sodium content.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                          p
                                                                                                                                          pisang goreng Feb 5, 2009 08:58 AM

                                                                                                                                          "Im sure her family likes her."

                                                                                                                                          ..........Maybe, maybe not. lol.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                            I'm sure her family likes her.
                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                            I wouldn't be so sure of that. :-)

                                                                                                                                          2. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                                                                                                            a_and_w Feb 5, 2009 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                                            I'm not going to lie...she's kind of hot.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: a_and_w
                                                                                                                                              Miss Needle Feb 5, 2009 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                              He he. Must be difficult for you to read endless posts about the hotness of Eric Ripert from us week after week. ; )

                                                                                                                                              1. re: a_and_w
                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler Feb 5, 2009 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                I can see that she's pretty, but "hotness" is more than just physical: it has to do with personality and attitude, and Leah's personality and attitude are quite unattractive.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                  a_and_w Feb 6, 2009 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Miss Needle, no worries -- I've got a man crush on Ripert myself.

                                                                                                                                                  Ruth, I just meant physically attractive -- I agree she's annoying.

                                                                                                                                            2. yamalam Feb 5, 2009 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                                              Stefan on the QF, from Bravo's site:

                                                                                                                                              "Again, eel I love and it is probably the easiest. We used to catch them in horses' heads in the river in Germany and Switzerland. You rope the head of the horse and throw it in the river or stream, wait a few days and pull it out and here you have beautiful eel."

                                                                                                                                              He is trying to be shocking, no? Or is this a standard practice?

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: yamalam
                                                                                                                                                roxlet Feb 5, 2009 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                It's straight out of Gunther Grass's The Tin Drum.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: yamalam
                                                                                                                                                  TroyTempest Feb 5, 2009 09:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I think it is fairly common. I saw it in the movie The Tin Drum:
                                                                                                                                                  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078875/
                                                                                                                                                  Maybe Stefan saw it here too.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TroyTempest
                                                                                                                                                    yamalam Feb 5, 2009 09:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Fairly common? Maybe during WWII like the movie, but I don't believe severed horse heads are readily available in Germany these days.

                                                                                                                                                    But it was kind of funny of Stefan to mention. Thanks for explaining the reference.

                                                                                                                                                2. k
                                                                                                                                                  ktb615 Feb 5, 2009 09:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Re: Nail in the head of the eel...

                                                                                                                                                  Where did Stefan find a nail and a hammer? Perhaps he considers them common tools in his kitchen and carries them in his knife roll? And when Hosea decided to copy the idea, where did he get his nail and hammer?

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ktb615
                                                                                                                                                    PattiCakes Feb 5, 2009 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                    kb615: I was wondering the same thing. It wasn't like they had a lot of time to work out a game plan either and search for tools. SInce method appears to be a standard way of accomplishing the task, could it be that hammers and nails were put out for all to use in case anyone realized they needed them?

                                                                                                                                                    yamalam: you are probably right. The contestants play the game as well -- put on vacuous looks for the cameras and fellow diners; write crib notes on their sleeves for later use. And it's not like the editors would want us to catch a glimse of that either. All is not what it seems. Being played is one thing; knowing you are being played takes the fun out of the whole thing. I'm changing my name from "PattiCakes" to "Increasingly Disenchanted".

                                                                                                                                                    Paedrus: sorry about your keyboard. Sometimes my imagination takes on a life of its own -- been hit on the head with an eel too many times.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                                                                      MMRuth Feb 5, 2009 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                      "SInce method appears to be a standard way of accomplishing the task, could it be that hammers and nails were put out for all to use in case anyone realized they needed them?" That was my impression.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                                                        Withnail42 Feb 5, 2009 11:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Well there is a Home Depot about seven blocks away.

                                                                                                                                                  2. yamalam Feb 5, 2009 09:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Ok, I've been devouring the Bravo site in embarrasing quantities, but did learn from Jamie's exit interview that a lot of the cheftestants guessed what the elim challenge would be during the meal and some were even taking notes under the table.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Withnail42 Feb 5, 2009 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I was left with a feeling that Carla was robbed perhaps Stephan's lobster and hollandaise sauce was slightly better executed. Great he optimized the two or three ingredients he required. But Carla nailed a vastly more complex dish. The sauce in her dish alone was more complex than the entirety of Stephan’s. That should have really been taken into consideration.

                                                                                                                                                      This week along with last weeks odd elimination makes one feel that the editor has ‘left the building.’

                                                                                                                                                      Jamie seemed to have checked out which is too bad as she had grown on me over recent weeks. I was done with the team rainbow thing weeks ago.

                                                                                                                                                      I think Hosea is wrestling with internal issues regarding the serious man crush he has on Stephan.

                                                                                                                                                      Stephan can clearly cook, and he clearly knows it. I know it is a game and it makes perfect sense for him to take the easy dish. But if you want to go around saying how great you do it by taking the most complex dish and kicking a$$ that way, not by the easy route.

                                                                                                                                                      Thankfully TY was kept off to the side for most of this. His comments were actually bordering on the relevant. Although I was looking forward as to whom he was referring to as Obi-Wan Kanobi. But how was he able to judge and compare the dishes since he was not at the tasting lunch?

                                                                                                                                                      I don’t get how Leah goes from freaking out and giving up on a fish to then saying what a great fish cook she is. Perhaps she is this seasons Lisa. Getting further and further along because someone screws up worse that she does each week.

                                                                                                                                                      Still say Carla was robbed.

                                                                                                                                                      66 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                                                        saeyedoc Feb 5, 2009 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                        TY was not there when the cheftestants had lunch, but he was there to taste their replications of the dishes, along with a sample of Ripert's dish.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Interesting! I had forgotten about TY's supposed Obi-Wan Kenobi reference - I didn't hear it last night - did I miss it?

                                                                                                                                                          And when they were served the cheftestant's version, the Le Bernardin version went into the middle of the table. I saw Padma try from that plate several times, and Chef Colicchio referred to it several times, as well as TY.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                            g
                                                                                                                                                            gastrotect Feb 5, 2009 01:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                            They didn't have it. I watched for it specifically. Though I suspect he may have said something along the lines of Stefan was Luke to Ripert's Obi-Wan. Pointing out how close Stefan came to the original. I dunno. My guess anyway.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                              edible complex Feb 5, 2009 01:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                              didn't TY say something of Pablo Escolar about Carla's dish???

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: edible complex
                                                                                                                                                                yamalam Feb 5, 2009 02:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Groan, yes. That fish was so flavorful, it should be called Pablo Escolar...something like that.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: edible complex
                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 5, 2009 04:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, that was one of Toby's dumb-ass editorial "witticisms" that could have been left out for the greater benefit of the viewers.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                                    miss_bennet Feb 6, 2009 12:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Toby Young's "witticisms" make me think of the insipid character Mr. Collins in "Pride and Prejudice." While some of these supposedly clever comments are likely made up on the spot, TY must think of specific, injurious phrases to use, then apply them to whatever sitution presents itself. (I should go get the book to find the exact quote.)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: miss_bennet
                                                                                                                                                                      Phaedrus Feb 6, 2009 04:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      I think Toby thinks he is being paid for having at least of of these crazy and forced similes/puns/metaphors per episode. Otherwise I rather enjoyed his copmmentary when he was just talking about the food.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: edible complex
                                                                                                                                                                    i
                                                                                                                                                                    Indy 67 Feb 6, 2009 02:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Now I'm completely confused.

                                                                                                                                                                    TY's comparing "someone's" dish to Pablo Escobar is a harsh criticism. The fish is escolar. Escobar was an infamous Columbian drug lord. Comparing someone's dish to Escobar doesn't seem to fit with Carla's dish being among the top three dishes and Rippert being particularly impressed with Carla's sleuthing out the sauce. Did TY dislike Carla's dish although the other judges liked it?

                                                                                                                                                                    I interpreted Toby's lead-in statement ("That dish was so flavorful...") as sarcasm. After all, how many of us would respond to being compared to a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of judges, police and other people as a good thing?

                                                                                                                                                                    If I'm right about TY's comment being negative, did he shut up in a face-saving move when the other judges started chiming in with positive remarks about Carla's dish?

                                                                                                                                                                    I simply don't remember.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                                                                      momjamin Feb 6, 2009 04:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Well, I made some chocolate truffles for Christmas gifts that one recipient compared to crack, meaning she could easily get addicted, with no actual illegal substance use/abuse implied. Thus I would interpret TY's comment as meaning "this is really really good stuff that I could keep eating." I also have the impression from the context that he was commenting on how good it was.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                        i
                                                                                                                                                                        Indy 67 Feb 6, 2009 04:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Let's just say that if the old analogy section of the SAT still existed and a test-taker was asked a question comparing Carla's dish to either (a) the man, Escobar, or (B) his addictive product only one of those answers would be correct.

                                                                                                                                                                        Toby is so enchanted with his self-perceived witticisms, he doesn't notice that most of his comments are either illogical or so long and labored that no one cares by the time he gets to the punch line.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                        edible complex Feb 6, 2009 04:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        I too was confused. maybe just another lame or lazy attempt at a food pun, like Tom Radicchio.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                          PattiCakes Feb 6, 2009 05:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          I think you are getting WAY too deep on this one. I think Toby meant it as a pun, not as a literal comparison to the persona of Pablo Escobar. If you serve a sandwich called the "Bonnie & Clyde" at a restaurant that has a kitchy theme, I don't think you are implying that the sandwich is is bad enough to make you want to rob a bank.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PattiCakes
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                                                                                                                                                                            Indy 67 Feb 7, 2009 12:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Okay, we'll agree to disagree. Of course Toby was inspired to make his comparison because of the play on words. I just happen to think that to be truly witty, comments ought to actually mean something instead of only appearing to mean something.

                                                                                                                                                                            As for the Bonny & Clyde sandwich, who knows what the title of that sandwich might mean without an explanation. The sandwich combination Bonnie fixed for Clyde prior to their last, failed bank robbery? A sandwich combining Bonnie's and Clyde's favorite ingredients? The restaurant owner's homage to Faye Dunaway or Warren Beatty or Arthur Penn with no particular significance as to ingredients? A combination so bad that someone might want to rob a bank?

                                                                                                                                                                            Your sandwich example at least has the advantage of ambiguity. With Toby's long, tortured explanations, viewers learn all-too-clearly that he's incapable of uttering a meaningful witticism. dmd_kc's explanation farther downthread precisely sums up my point of view: no pith -- merely sub-ninth-grade puns.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                            Frodnesor Feb 6, 2009 06:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            It should surprise nobody at this point that TY made a strained and pointless "joke". I believe the attempted "segue" was that Carla's dish was a "powerful" dish and should have been called "Pablo Escolar". It pains me to even attempt to repeat it.

                                                                                                                                                                            I think maybe they should start dubbing in rim-shots for each of his awful "one-liners" (which invariably take about a minute to set up). Or maybe crickets. Here, you can do it yourself:
                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.instantrimshot.com/
                                                                                                                                                                            http://instantcrickets.com/

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Frodnesor
                                                                                                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Feb 6, 2009 08:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              Well, abhorrent as he may be, you can't deny that Pablo Escobar is "powerful"! That said, I'm so over the forced similes. Actually, I was over them the first time I heard one, and they haven't improved!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Indy 67
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                                                                                                                                                                              Alex318 Feb 6, 2009 06:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              perhaps TY thinks despite being a drug kingpin he was one of the best - hence the pablo escolar comment ;)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Alex318
                                                                                                                                                                                Withnail42 Feb 6, 2009 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Perhaps Pablo Escobar was one heck of a fish cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                                                  PattiCakes Feb 6, 2009 09:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  don't they use scales in the drug trade?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry, boring Friday.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42
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                                                                                                                                                                                    shallots Feb 6, 2009 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    If Pable Escobar said he cooked fish well, who would have argued with him?

                                                                                                                                                                                    Seriously, though,
                                                                                                                                                                                    Was poaching the Escolar in oil done to reduce the oils within the fish and thus ameliorate the unfortunate side effects?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                      Frodnesor Feb 6, 2009 10:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      My guess is that oil poaching likely causes the fish to retain rather than release any oils within the fish and would probably not have any impact on escolar's "unfortunate side effects." However, the portion size was probably small enough to not induce them.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                                                                                                  dmd_kc Feb 6, 2009 10:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  It's as simple as this: TY thinks he's sharp. He is not. He doesn't know the difference between pith and sub-9th-grade puns.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Small-bald-man syndrome to the nth. He's what the word "prat' was invented for.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Positively embarrassing to watch. He gives me what an old professor called "toe-scrunch syndrome," where you wear a hole in your socks out of empathic humiliation.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                                                                    Phaedrus Feb 7, 2009 04:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    >> He's what the word "prat' was invented for. <<

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh yes, absolutely. Very very appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                                                                                                                      Withnail42 Feb 9, 2009 04:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Funny right from the start the thought that came to mind was 'what a prat.' Still does for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Feb 7, 2009 04:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      "He gives me what an old professor called "toe-scrunch syndrome," where you wear a hole in your socks out of empathic humiliation."
                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                      i LOVE that! it's a perfect descriptor.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Indy 67
                                                                                                                                                                                      Frodnesor Feb 8, 2009 07:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      A side-note on Carla "sleuthing out the sauce." This may be somewhat less impressive that it seems on first glance. Keep in mind that each of the chefs was given the mise en place for their particular dish (something which should have made it much easier for all of them). Assuming there were no "fake-out" ingredients (and there was no indication that there were), Carla's mise en place would not have included any eggs. No eggs, no bernaise.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Frodnesor
                                                                                                                                                                                        pitu Feb 8, 2009 03:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Are you sure the mise was complete? I couldn't tell that from the show. Perhaps staples were available to all...

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pitu
                                                                                                                                                                                          Frodnesor Feb 8, 2009 05:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          It sure looked like a lot of stuff piled at each station, and from some of the chefs' comments I got the sense they were not looking beyond what they were given (i.e. Leah trying to figure out the miso sauce).

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Frodnesor
                                                                                                                                                                                            Sooeygun Feb 9, 2009 07:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            And Jamie commented in her blog that by the time she had realized that her celery was oversalty, "All my ingredients were accounted for and I had nothing left over to help dilute the liquid to take some of the salt away" Sounds like there weren't allowed to go beyond what they were given.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sooeygun
                                                                                                                                                                                              PattiCakes Feb 9, 2009 12:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              very astute observation. We all catch our own little peices of the thread. How many ChowHounds does it take to piece together a cohesive recap of Top Chef?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PattiCakes
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                                                                                                                                                                                                AMFM Feb 9, 2009 03:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                LOL - apparently a LOT! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Sooeygun
                                                                                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                                                                                ktb615 Feb 11, 2009 05:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Surely she would have been allowed to go get some water from the tap. I doubt they provided her to the ounce what she was allowed to use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ktb615
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sooeygun Feb 11, 2009 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  She said that she did use water because her ingredients were accounted for. "I tried adding some water when we got to the upstairs kitchen, but at that point it was just too late...I couldn't fix it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sooeygun
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                                                                                                                                                                                                    shallots Feb 11, 2009 11:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DId she have potatoes or corn available? Those were the classic salt reducers in Crawfish boils.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did she soak the ham first to reduce the saltiness?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Feb 11, 2009 12:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      i re-watched it last night. the problem was that when she first checked on the celery, she decided it wasn't soft enough, so she covered the pan and left it on a burner on the stove to cook further. unfortunately she left it for too long and the liquid over-reduced...hence, the salt lick she served to the judges. she really didn't realize it until it was too late to do anything about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      a couple of other things i noticed:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Jamie actually DID say the food at Le Bernardin was good (aside from the dish she didn't like and wound up preparing)...just that it wasn't her style, and didn't inspire her to cook like that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Stefan remarked that he wasn't paying too much attention to the details of each dish while they were eating, and that he was just enjoying how good the food was. it doesn't jive with the comments about them all taking notes under the table...and it's what surprised when i first watched the episode and had me wondering how the chefs didn't see this particular EC coming from a mile away.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Carla really was robbed - Ripert even remarked that she had the most challenging dish, and he was impressed with her. i'm still not sure why they didn't give her the win...and this time around i noticed how disappointed she looked when they gave it to Stefan, particularly after they announced the ridiculously fantastic prize he won. (for the record since there was some question about it in earlier posts, the F&W festival he'll be attending with Ripert is the Pebble Beach one).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Miss Needle Feb 11, 2009 01:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Whoah! I think I found somebody who analyzes this show more than I do. : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                        To shallots: While potatoes or corn may help reduce the salt content for a crawfish boil (or any other liquid), Jamie's braised dish was celery. The salt was already in the celery and she cooked it for way too long. If you see the Le Bernardin dish and her dish, you'll see that her celery was bordering on olive green while Le B's celery was a much springier lighter green. I'm afraid that the potato/corn trick wouldn't be much help in her situation. And as Sooeygun has noted, they had a certain set of ingredients they had to use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sooeygun Feb 11, 2009 01:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know about soaking the ham, but, no she didn't have potatoes or corn available. They were limited to a certain set of given ingredients and she had used hers up. Besides, they had to re-create a given dish and potatoes and corn definitely weren't part of that dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                    4. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                                                      p
                                                                                                                                                                                      pisang goreng Feb 5, 2009 12:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I saw TY's Obi-Wan line in previews but didn't see it in the show. My take was that he was referring/saying it to Eric Ripert.

                                                                                                                                                                                      When Hosea said that he is not a classically trained chef, it explained a lot about him. Not that there is anything wrong with him not being classically trained but he said himself that it sometimes comes back to bite him. I think that makes him feel insecure competing against someone like Stefan.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                                                        PorkButt Feb 5, 2009 03:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        The lobster dish was served with sauce Gribiche, not hollandaise as the caption indicated. They're not similar at all, sauce Gribiche is cold and is like a mayonnaise made with hard boiled yolks with additions including tarragon, chervil, cornichons, and capers. Someone who doesn't know classic French sauces might have a tough time deconstructing it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        That said, Stefan's dish was easier to prep than all the others because the lobster and asparagus were also served cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PorkButt
                                                                                                                                                                                          d
                                                                                                                                                                                          dmd_kc Feb 5, 2009 04:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, also don't forget he mistook RAW asparagus for COOKED. That's some deductive palette there, Stefan.

                                                                                                                                                                                          If you know how to make Gribiche, then it's Gribiche. Anyone here could, especially with a second set of hands to pour the oil in a stream (watch it again). I haven't had Ripert's, but it didn't look like it deviated from the classic recipe other than it was thinner -- and Stefan didn't nail that aspect of it. Stefan made the traditional version: thick mayonnaise with additions.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, I loathe the guy, and he could probably do no right by me. But I truly think the judges are favoring him by expectation. Don't forget he largely screwed up the first two parts of the quickfire. (Though who really fillets a sardine these days? -- that part was absurd. I didn't realize it was Top Chef 1910 Grand Hotel for Rich People.)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                                                                            PorkButt Feb 5, 2009 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I think the two crossed tiny asparagus spears on top of the dish were raw while the fat spears underneath the lobster appear to be cooked based on the color.

                                                                                                                                                                                            As for boning out a sardine, that may be a rare skill these days because most Americans wouldn't even think of eating fresh sardines. But to me, those sardines prepared by Ripert are perfect to be cured and eaten raw - something that a humble fisherman would relish.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PorkButt
                                                                                                                                                                                              d
                                                                                                                                                                                              dmd_kc Feb 5, 2009 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Man, I'd love fresh, expertly-cured sardines. But grilled whole with just a little lemon on top and lots of salt -- those are among my favorite fish in the sea.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PorkButt
                                                                                                                                                                                                susancinsf Feb 5, 2009 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                had sardines the other night at 1550 Hyde in SF. Delicious. Have had them at La Ciccia, our local Sardinian restaurant also :-) After the dramatic collapse of the Monterey sardine industry in the 40's, they are making a comeback, and are (for those of us in NoCal) local and sustainable.(I see them diving in California fairly often), Deboning them seems like a skill worth learning (in fact, given that they are a local fish, I was a little surprised that Jamie apparently hadn't worked with them. They arent that common, but increasing in popularity here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: susancinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                                                                                                                  dmd_kc Feb 5, 2009 08:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Best I've ever had are at Peasant in NYC (Nolita). Very simply roasted in the wood-fired oven. Actually, everything the chef there makes is pretty much incredible, top to bottom. Bone-in, of course!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf
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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nettie Feb 6, 2009 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We've been seeing fresh, local sardines in the pacific northwest recently as well. They are quite high in omega-3 fatty acids, and as they only reach maturity in a fairly short time (less than one year?) they're a fairly sustainable choice (I'm looking at you, Jamie, with your chilean sea bass). I've had them grilled whole in local restaurants, which were delicious, and as an enthusiastic home cook I've bought and cleaned them myself, so I had a lot of sympathy for what the cooks were going through (and some disappointment with Hosea for talking as if sardines were beneath him). One dish for which I prepared them was the traditional Sicilian pasta con le sarde, in which I think the sardines are boned before cooking. When I was done with the sardines, they were a mess, and I didn't have the pressure of having Ripert watching me work or a time deadline.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: susancinsf
                                                                                                                                                                                                      PorkButt Feb 6, 2009 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      We're lucky to have access to excellent fresh sardines but the sad thing is that there are towns here that are affluent enough to support a top fishmonger but the people who live there think of Whole Foods as the place to buy seafood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That said, I think I'll check Monterey Fish or Tokyo Fish Market for some sardines and work on my knife skills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: PorkButt
                                                                                                                                                                                                      fame da lupo Feb 5, 2009 07:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It was an easy call that Fabio would nail the sardine. I hoped he would win the challenge, but him ending in the top 3 was good enough. Ne voglio di più Fabio!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fritter Feb 6, 2009 04:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would seriously question wether Stephan made Gribiche at all and not hollandaise. You can clearly see Stephans sauce has the consistency of mayo so it is emulsified. Gribiche is not. You can also see Stephan adding lemon to his sauce!
                                                                                                                                                                                                      One other thing that I caught was that Eric actually told Stephan the asparagus was raw so he gave away the technique of the dish to some degree. Hosea flat out asked Rippert about how to do the crust on the fish Eric did not tell him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Feb 6, 2009 08:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, but we already know that Stefan is confused about what is emulsified and what is not!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                          d
                                                                                                                                                                                                          dmd_kc Feb 6, 2009 10:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ha! But he's obviously putting herbs in it, and Ripert mentioned them (on the blog, maybe?). And it's served cold, so it'd have to be Gribiche, if not just plain mayo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          However, I've given up on Bravo captioning the show precisely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Blueicus Feb 7, 2009 10:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've never seen a gribiche that looks that runny or that well emulsified...it looked like a bearnaise (or some variant) on screen...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Blueicus
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fritter Feb 8, 2009 05:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Absolutly! My first thought when I saw the sauce was bearnaise. I wouldn't put it past the show to describe the sauce as gribiche when it was something else just to throw the chefs off.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              One things for sure, Stephan did not make gribiche.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Fritter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                roxlet Feb 8, 2009 05:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                So I think the difference between what Carla made, where the potatoes were not cooked as well as they should have, and what Stefan made, where the sauce was not the same as the same as the sauce in the original, should have made Carla the winner of this challenge. They both made mistakes in executing the dish perfectly, but fried potato discs that didn't get crunchy enough vs. the wrong sauce is a minor error, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  shallots Feb 8, 2009 06:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I trust Ripert to have chosen the chef who, in his opinion, came closest to his dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    roxlet Feb 8, 2009 08:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ah, but was it Ripert exactly? Remember that decisions are made collectively with input from the producers as well, so we really can't say that it was Ripert's decision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have recently been thinking that the producers may be manipulating expectations with all the wins for Stefan. Isn't it unprecedented that one chef has won so many QFs and elimination challenges? So maybe it's a testament to Stefan's superior ability, or an indication that the other chef's are much weaker, or an attempt to manipulate the viewers' expectations. Clearly, we won't know until the end, but I'm just paranoid enough to consider the third possibility.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      LindaWhit Feb 8, 2009 03:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Isn't it unprecedented that one chef has won so many QFs and elimination challenges?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, Stefan is tied right now on the Elimination Challenge wins with Stephanie from last season, not counting her season-ending win (although she only had 2 QF wins total, but she had 6x in the "HIGH" group whereas Stefan has had only 2x).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ktb615 Feb 11, 2009 05:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The wins are decided as filming goes along. They are not part of the editing process that creates the storylines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Or are they? Dun dun duhhhhhhh!!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ruth Lafler Feb 11, 2009 07:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          According to everyone, despite the disclaimer that the producers may have input in the decisions, they've actually never exercised that right (except when Colicchio wanted to send everyone home after the Marcel attempted head shaving and they wouldn't let him).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fritter Feb 8, 2009 06:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree 100%. I really have to wonder how well Stephan's dish would have been received if Eric had not told him how they prepared the asparagus on the dish served to the chefs. I think he had a real advantage with that little tidbit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I completly agree Carla should have won this round. While Stephans dish may not have been "easy" it was easilly the least complex.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Fritter
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          shallots Feb 8, 2009 09:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Remember it wasn't just for the winner of the dish, it was for the person to work with him and with him (Ripert) attend the Wine and Food Festival (Was it the Palm Beach W&FF?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I would guess that Ripert was judging them the whole time from the intro QF until he named the winner. Carla didn't handle the QF well, at all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The unstated question, "Will this person embarass me?" was there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think Ripert is a "If it tastes like crap, at least I made it with love, kind of guy."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shallots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            roxlet Feb 8, 2009 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Be that as it may, it doesn't preclude the fact that the winner is a joint decision, not one made by the guest judge whether or not the winner will be shackled to Ripert for a couple of weeks. And, if we are to take them at their word, the winner of the elimination challenge is judged solely on the basis of the dish that he or she made for THAT challege and not for the aggregate of whatever else he or she might have made. Ostensibly, Ripert is as likely to have seen Stefan half-assed result from the Super Bowl show as he might have the "I made it with love" show, but neither weighs on the judging for the current elimination challenge. (If the past weighed on the present, then Jamie never would have been eliminated.) Strictly on the basis of the current elimination challenge (not the QF), the results IMO were pretty much a tie with the edge going to Carla. Who knows -- maybe Ripert likes to hang out with guys in the kitchen, but personally, I think I'd rather spend two weeks with Carla!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ccbweb Feb 8, 2009 11:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There's also the filming schedule. They film all of the season over several weeks. So it's unlikely that Ripert had seen any footage much less any finished episodes before he had his turn as a guest judge this season. He likely met the contestants for the first time the day of the quick fire challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I believe the various and numerous judges who have said that the judges alone make the decision about who wins and who loses challenges. I also believe that they try to keep former performance out of their decision making though I think it's unlikely to be able to completely put it aside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think Ripert would have factored in who he'd prefer to spend time with at all when judging the food. He clearly takes food very seriously and when tasked with judging the results on the plate, I think he'd do just that. Certainly once the decision is made he might think "goodness, I'd rather not have to spend time with this person" or some such thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                roxlet Feb 8, 2009 11:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Do you know how many weeks it takes them to shoot a season? I'm thinking that it's probably like 2 days on and 1 day off or some such -- unless the cheftestants are required to join AFTRA, in which case the number of days off is probably proscribed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath Feb 8, 2009 02:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Part of the intensity and burnout the contestants experience is that there is almost no downtime in the shooting schedule. The interviews I've read over the years suggest there is no way they get as much as 1 in 3 days off over the course of 4 or 5 weeks of shooting (not counting the finale).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ccbweb Feb 8, 2009 05:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think I remember an interview Tom Colicchio gave in which he said with only a bit of sarcasm that it took about 20 days to shoot the show. I think he was exaggerating but my sense was that he was only exaggerating a little. I've read elsewhere that it's a similar sort of schedule as Project Runway which I think means about a month, give or take. I don't think they do much in the way of downtime once they get rolling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Fritter Feb 9, 2009 04:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is indeed very unlikely that Chef Ripert had seen any of the previous footage as it probably hadn't even been editied at that point. When they were eating Hosea's dish Tom mentioned the pressure was on because he was a seafood chef and Eric said he was totally unaware of that. That would indicate that Ripert knew little if any thing about any of the chefs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The notion that Ripert would choose Stephan over Carla for personality reasons seems unlikely. I think Chef Ripert is far more professional than that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When Carlas dish was presented Eric seemed impressed that she had sorted out the sauce which was actually a beurre rouge and not a bearnaise variant as the server had indicated when the cheftestants were served their food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. junglekitte Feb 5, 2009 01:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good riddance to that snotty brat! What a snob! Seriously...glad she's gone and I hope Leah is next.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: junglekitte
                                                                                                                                                                                                              h
                                                                                                                                                                                                              HickTownBarnaby Feb 5, 2009 03:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ripert is the coolest. I've dined at Le Bernardin and have watched him make the rounds in the dining room---ever smiling and gracious just like he was on Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              He's got it all under control.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. NellyNel Feb 6, 2009 06:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              My 2 cents:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hosea - really getting annoying now - How can you perform well when you are so concerned about seeing your colleagues go down...Stop whining and concentrate on YOURSELF!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I personally though he should have gone last night -

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Leah - really annoyed me when she gave up...and I'm glad that at least Tom did mention it to her
                                                                                                                                                                                                              She's boy crazy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fabio - still absolutely adorable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Carla -she's great and starting to show her stuff

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stefan - I have decided I love him!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              He really knows his stuff, his food looks great, and he is willing to really help out his fellow chefs. He really impressed me when he was helping out - it seemed like he was doing it for the love of food...
                                                                                                                                                                                                              He aslo seemed quite funny and cute when they were showing the chefs doing thier "quick-fire" in the house. The other chefs seem to get along with him (except Hosea!) so I really don't think he is bad as he is portrayed to be

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jamie - Wow! I was shocked
                                                                                                                                                                                                              First because she was "bored" by Ripert's food...
                                                                                                                                                                                                              no - I'm sorry the man is a master, and his strength is his sublty. Bored - goodness me!And secondly that she was sent home!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was so sure she'd be in the top 3!
                                                                                                                                                                                                              But as someone mentioned - she really seemed a bit disinterested or distracted this episode - who knows?!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Top 3:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stefan
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fabio
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Carla
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I hope!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                chowser Feb 6, 2009 06:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have the same feelings about them all. I don't think Stefan is as bad as they're making him out to be when you see how they get along and they have shown moments of humility where he makes fun of himself. They've all been great about helping each other out. Even Stephan said, in that AIDs challenge, that you help out in the kitchen, that's what you do. Hosea has this odd rivalry with Stefan which is so funny because Stefan is so above his league. Stefan laughed about it in his interview and said something about the rivalry not going both ways. Leah--grow up. This is not a frat party for you to throw your hair around and bat your eyes trying to cute your way through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cabking Feb 6, 2009 08:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree that Stepfan is probably more likable than he's portrayed, but I'm also guessing that as he's realized that he's going to win this thing hands down (barring "drama"), he has been able to let his guard down. My opinion of him as a precision technician versus someone whose food I might ever want to eat has not changed, however. YAWN.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jamie certainly has had ups and downs, and her PYKAG was no big shocker based on past performance. When she's down, she can be as "tiring" as Leah, although Leah ismore consistently unlikeable and has yet to cook food to Jamie's level when Jamie is "on".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Very surprising is Carla. Never oil poached escolar, was given a dish wheree the sauce was essentially misidentified in its verbal description, and came close to nailing it. A great turn of events because she's so likeable and because her food, when good, seems yummy. BUT, she could easily "Jamie" in any given upcoming episode, if past failures are any indication.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Finally, at least visually, I was not impressed by what I saw of the food a Le Bernardin. As always, the proof is in the eating, but that having been said I have always thought the menu there read well, but the dishes looked "old school" on TV. Not sure I would spend the $$$ to find out after viewing this episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cabking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    a_and_w Feb 6, 2009 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Small confession...I wasn't wowed by Le Bernadin. But I'm not a big seafood fan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. meadandale Feb 6, 2009 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm glad Jamie got the boot. I've been waiting a long time for this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  From her exit interview:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "it wasn't my food, I wasn't inspired."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Apparently she's only inspired to execute food well that she has had (the) creative input in? I have no idea how she ever became an executive chef with this attitude. You work for years "cooking other people's food" before you ever get the chance to run your own kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  29 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: meadandale
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NellyNel Feb 6, 2009 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's a good point...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I really hated that she thought Riperts food was boring.................Out of the bottom 3 this week, I really didn't have an emotional tie to any of them - so I didnt really care who went... though I was surely surprised!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And also - as a chef - shouldn't ALL well prepared food inspire you? In some way or another? Huh ? what a stupid, arrogant thing to say

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      momjamin Feb 6, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > And also - as a chef - shouldn't ALL well prepared food inspire you? In some way or another? Huh ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ITA. It was Ripert himself who said last season that a chef should never stop learning -- he was eager to see what Blais's tricks were, not saying "I do classic refined food and these gimmicks just aren't me."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        pitu Feb 6, 2009 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        agreed, momjamin - although I can understand burn-out and some disinterest in classic frenchiness since it routinely gets ranked above everything else in the pantheon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        at least Jamie paid attention and figured out how to execute, even if she made a mistake that time did not allow her to fix. I wonder if she had removed the celery from the plate how it would have gone...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pitu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 6, 2009 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wonder if she had removed the celery from the plate how it would have gone...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Then it wouldn't have been a recreation of Le Bernardin's dish and she most definitely would have gone home. I think it was a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation with her dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fritter Feb 6, 2009 12:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's easy to say with the benefit of looking back but I kept wondering why she didn't rinse the celery then nuke it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: pitu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            PorkButt Feb 6, 2009 01:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ripert said "the sauce was burned and way oversalted" in an interview on bravotv.com so even without the celery, the dish was ruined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chowser Feb 6, 2009 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was very impressed with the way Ripert gave feedback, especially during the quick fire. He was teaching them methods, giving constructive criticisms which it seems all the cheftestants appreciated and could grow from. I found it informative, too, not that I'll ever do that to eel but far better than painful zingers that don't teach anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Feb 6, 2009 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              agreed - and it was also great to watch him offering them some guidance in the kitchen when they were preparing for the EC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i wasn't always a fan of Ripert's personality - something about him used to seem really cold, and left me thinking that he was always sort of looking down his nose at the "silly Americans"...but he's really grown on me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ccbweb Feb 6, 2009 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No. Being a chef doesn't mean that all well prepared food will inspire you. One can appreciate that the food is well prepared and recognize the technique, effort and thought that went into it and not be inspired. Inspiration is an entirely personal thing. I also didn't see anything particularly arrogant about it. (I agree she's come off as arrogant at points through the season, but I don't think this was an example of that.) She wasn't asserting that her food was better than that at Le Bernardin, or that the food was bad, only that she wasn't personally inspired by it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Disagreeing with her is obviously everyone's individual call. But to jump on someone for what they don't happen to find inspiring seems off the mark to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Feb 6, 2009 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's basically what Colicchio said in his blog, too. In fact, he praised Jamie for being true to herself (i.e. not being phony and saying she liked something she didn't just because it was "the thing").

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some people like classical elegance, and some people are more exicted by things that are more "out there" -- both are legitimate esthetic choices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NellyNel Feb 6, 2009 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well you can say it is a matter of ones personal opinion...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                but someone that "inspires" me - is not someone who would find someone as masterful as Ripert "boring". Someone who is always being enlightened is someone inspiring to me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If that quality isn't admirable to you, so be it. I don't care what Tom says.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To me, if I like to cook pasta - I am not going to be "bored" by someone who cooks a good curry....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here's my question: Then what kind of food DOES Jamie make?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought her thing was simplicity (?)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                She definitely wasn't into weird flavor combinations.....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would have though Riperts food would have been right up her alley.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Can anyone enlighten me on that ?(I may be completely wrong here)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit Feb 6, 2009 10:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She's into using local, organic, and in season and, if I'm not mistaken, she likes "bigger flavors".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    a_and_w Feb 6, 2009 10:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I'm guessing she feels more of an affinity for farm-to-table chefs like Dan Barber of Blue Hill. As do I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ccbweb Feb 6, 2009 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She made no commentary whatsoever like that about Eric Ripert the person. I think you're conflating her ideas about the food with her ideas about Ripert. I don't think for a moment that she was saying anything even remotely negative about Ripert or would say that he's anything but a spectacular chef from whom she could learn a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She didn't find the _food_ inspiring, that's all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      PattiCakes Feb 6, 2009 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think her comments were magnified by the fact that she was shown picking at her food with her head down in what could have been construed as a sullen manner. We all know now that she was trying to mentally dissect the dish & was probably taking notes under the table. It's all in the editing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree with you, ccbweb. I don't think she intended to diss Chef Ripert; she was merely commenting that the dishes she was presented with were just not her "type" of food. Perhaps an ill-considered remark for a mega chef wannabe, but not disrespectful to the man.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She looked very out of sorts to me during the whole show, as though she had other things on her mind or was not feeling well. I can't put my finger on it , but she was not the same Jamie I have seen in other episodes. Could be she just bottomed out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It will never ever happen because of the different network affiliations/commitments, but I would LOVE to see Gordon Ramsey pull his Hell's Kitchen schtick (and it IS a schtick) on this crew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        NellyNel Feb 6, 2009 01:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Excellent point Patti ...At the time it just seemed like she was being rude, but yes, you're right she was actually concentrating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And I completely agree, and I in fact said the same thing earlier somewhere here...She definitely seemed out of sorts...exhausted or I don't know - but she was not herself at all. I agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LOL and I agree again - Gordon Ramsey would be a HOOT!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ccbweb
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        NellyNel Feb 6, 2009 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not saying she is a horrible person ..
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just think someone in her position should be inspired by such a masterful chef...Just to be there in Riperts kitchen was an amazing oppertunity...I personally think it's arrogant to think you can't be inspired by something - simply because it "is not my thing".. Especially in someone as young as she is!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A "Top Chef" should want to explore all options of the culinary world IMO

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          AMFM Feb 6, 2009 07:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          she also got the dish she disliked. i too hate celery (like jamie said she did) and i would've hated that dish and have had a hard time with it because all i would've tasted was the celery.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          and great as ripert i'm certain is, the food didn't sing to me either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            dmd_kc Feb 6, 2009 10:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I used to hate celery. Celery and I have reached detente. I even kind of like it now and then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Why it's one of the foods little kids will eat, I have no idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              TampaAurora Feb 8, 2009 03:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dipping makes everything more fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            dmd_kc Feb 6, 2009 10:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NellyNel, I get what you're saying. But I have to admit that the model of restraint isn't always my thing either. I generally really admire, but don't always love, a more refined dining experience. I like food that leaves me with garlic breath and maybe an oil-stained shirt. If my fingernails are dirty, I don't mind! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To each his/her own. I admire Jamie for not pretending to love something that didn't appeal to her personally. I, too, found her overly-entitled throughout, with her "FINALLY" attitude when she won her first elimination challenge. But this part I didn't have a problem with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HOWEVER -- if Carla goes next week, I'm out. I have no interest in seeing any of the rest of them battle it out. They aren't quite the psychopaths of season 2, but the rest sans Carla aren't the kind of people I want to spend an hour a week with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              NellyNel Feb 7, 2009 04:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I hear ya on the Jamie thing...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But really???
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I like them all allot!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think this is my favorite bunch actually!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I could live w/out Hosea and Leah - but I don't have a strong dislike for them, and I genuinely like the rest of the lot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                dmd_kc Feb 7, 2009 07:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fabio I don't really mind, but I don't love him. And Stefan just rubs me the wrong way, from his smug little grin in the show's intro. I've felt that way from the beginning. He reminds me so much of Hung -- a good classical technician who looks down his nose at everyone else on the show, but does nothing but the tried-and-true dishes he knows well. It might not be a game-winning strategy, but I like to see cheftestants try new stuff as often as possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dmd_kc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  AMFM Feb 9, 2009 03:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  see - not to go backwards but.... i really don't think that hung tried nothing new. he was creative and a technician. just arrogant. but i liked him and i like stefan. didn't mind marcel. HATED ilan and stephen. it's funny how different people appeal to others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and i do think that the fact the others don't seem to hate stefan (with the exception of possibly hosea) means that they are playing up his arrogance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    momjamin Feb 9, 2009 04:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, they seem to like Stefan fine at this point, although there was more of the "can't work with him" vibe earlier in the season. Stefan's willing to help out in the kitchen. I also tend to think he's got a dry sense of humor and a persona for the camera, and, FWIW I get the impression he expected to be competing against a generally higher level of chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Marcel -- everyone hated -- it wasn't just a matter of not wanting to be teamed up with him, he got under their skin in all circumstances. (And I don't think it was just the gang mentality.) Same thing happened when they had season 1 vs season 2 (IIRC) -- the season 1 people who hadn't lived with him for a month were ready to throttle him in the first day of meeting him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      AMFM Feb 9, 2009 04:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      marcel was definitely adolescent. he "played" arrogant but it seemed to come from low self-esteem. that's the most annoying!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Withnail42 Feb 10, 2009 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Season one thought the whole season two team was a pain. Ilan got special mention for sneaking around and spying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: AMFM
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fame da lupo Feb 10, 2009 06:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hung was "Top Chef Sous Vide," but he was fun to watch nonetheless. For his knife skills, if nothing else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: NellyNel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  thew Feb 7, 2009 04:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  she didnt say she couldnt be inspired by it, she said she wasn't. it's very old school food at le bernadin. i can understand her point of view, regardless if i share it or not. there many great artists and writers who i thin k are technically excellent, but their writing or painting does not inspire me. it's ok. not everyone has to have the same reaction to everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Withnail42 Feb 9, 2009 04:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still say Carla was robbed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        roxlet Feb 9, 2009 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ditto.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          newbatgirl Feb 9, 2009 03:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, but let's talk about the important things here. Like how freakin' adorable Eric Ripert is!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know, I sound like Leah! No, I have a point, bear with me - I appreciate the way he interacted with the chefs throughout the episode. He was very polite and professorial, Such a wonderful change from the stereotype of the temperamental chef. I would like to think that he is that way with his staff as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. PattiCakes Feb 10, 2009 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK folks, I'm attemping to be a small voice crying in the Top Chef wilderness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        CAN WE STOP POSTING ON THIS THREAD???????

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tomorrow is Wednesday, there will be an new episode, and it's taking too damn long to open up this thread every time I see an update & I'm afraid of missing something earth shattering. Start another thread, wait until tomorrow, but just stop the madness!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <grin>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit Feb 10, 2009 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Page Down key works wonders to get to the new stuff on this thread. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            PattiCakes Feb 10, 2009 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            it's not GETTING to it, it's waiting for the whole thing to load.........

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit Feb 10, 2009 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ahhhhh.....haven't had to deal with that since getting off dial-up. DSL isn't that always that great at home, but loads it fast enough for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. y
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          yankeefan Feb 10, 2009 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Finally watched on DVR and read through this thread. Good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Didn't see a comment on it but did anyone else have the same love of the comment fhat Tom C had to Young when he wouldn't stop whining about the taste and the food effots "Its not as easy as you think". Don't like Tom all that much, but appreciated that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: yankeefan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            roxlet Feb 10, 2009 03:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes I loved that! It's the same thing my DH says to me when I am watching him or my son play a sqush match: It's not as easy as it looks. It totally resonated!

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